Bradford Council unveil ambitious plans for new stadium at Odsal

Bradford Council have unveiled plans to build a new 25,000-capacity stadium at Odsal for Bradford Bulls.

A bid has been made to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to secure a £50 million award for the project.

Odsal has been the Bulls’ home for most of the time since opening in 1934 and has hosted many famous Rugby League fixtures, including the UK’s record crowd of 102,569 for the 1954 Challenge Cup final replay.

But its current state is far less glamorous and the cost of maintaining the ground is crippling for the Championship club.

Bradford Council have proposed a new stadium on the site with a full roof, which would make it the largest permanently covered stadium in England.

It would be a part of a complex to also include a new skills and training facility, built in conjunction with the RFL as part of its national OuRLeague Life programme.

A multi-storey car park, sports pitches and a hotel are also included in the plans.

“We are extremely impressed by and applaud the scale of the ambition for Odsal Stadium and its immediate surroundings, conceived by our civic leaders and the RFL,” said Bulls Chairman Nigel Wood.

“It is to be particularly welcomed and commended that there is a very strong educational and training dimension to the scheme, an aspect with fits perfectly into our club’s aspiration to be a good corporate citizen, providing training, skills, welfare, opportunity and employment for our community beyond simply being a great Rugby League social enterprise.”

The plans hinge on the bid for Levelling Up funding being successful, with the council arguing the complex would attract more than 1.25 million visitors a year and create 480 full-time jobs over a decade, in a city identified as the UK’s biggest levelling-up opportunity.

“Bradford can create a home for Rugby League which reflects the status of both the sport and the city, and which will generate almost £1 billion in economic benefits for the people of Bradford over a decade,” said Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, the leader of Bradford Council.

“We are committed to working with the RFL to deliver a sport and training facility which provides skills and generates job opportunities for young people in Bradford and beyond.”

Tony Sutton, Chief Operating Officer at the RFL, said: “Rugby League can again help to level up by creating jobs and opportunities for people across the north.”

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.