Works begin to transform city arts and culture hub

Construction firm, Simpson, has been appointed main contractor for the redevelopment of Kala Sangam’s Grade II Listed arts centre in Bradford, with work now having started on site.

The project will see the creation of a new theatre, five dance studios, a central staircase and a permanent home for volunteer-led community radio station Bradford Community Broadcasting (BCB).

The introduction of a new entrance, two lifts and a dedicated changing places facility will ensure the building is fully accessible for the first time in its 140-year history.

It is scheduled to reopen as Bradford Arts Centre in summer 2025, as a landmark moment in Bradford’s year as UK City of Culture.

As works get underway, global professional services company, Turner & Townsend, has also been appointed as capital project manager.

It joins a Capital Design Team led by principal architects and contract administrators Halliday Clark Architects, who have been developing the project with Kala Sangam since its inception in 2018.

Also staying with the project are Quantity Surveyors DKP Consulting, Mechanical and Electrical specialists BWB Consulting, and Structural Engineers SGM Structural Design Ltd.

Jas Athwal, chair of Kala Sangam, said: “After many years of planning, we are happy that work has finally started to transform our home at St Peter’s House into a fully accessible space, ready to welcome artists, audiences, our local communities and businesses in 2025 as Bradford Arts Centre.

“I would like to thank our funders – the Department of Culture Media and Sport and Arts Council England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Garfield Weston Foundation and Bradford Metropolitan District Council – for supporting the redevelopment.

“Bradford is desperately in need of more space to create and enjoy arts and culture, and this redevelopment will ensure our building is a more open, welcoming and inclusive venue that the whole district can enjoy.”

Alex Croft, creative director of Kala Sangam, said: “I’m pleased that we have appointed Simpson Ltd as main contractors for the redevelopment.

“Right from our first meeting, we’ve seen the passion, dedication and professionalism that they bring to their projects – it feels like we couldn’t have placed this critical project in safer hands.

‘It has also been brilliant to welcome Turner & Townsend onto the team. Their support and hard work have been critical in getting the project to this exciting stage and we’re all looking forward to working with them, and drawing on their extensive experience, throughout the build.”

Andy Gatenby, from Simpson, added: “We’re excited and honoured to be working with the client Kala Sangam on the redevelopment of their cultural hub into the newly named Bradford Arts Centre.

“The project which aims to extensively reconfigure and upgrade the existing buildings facilities, will continue to be a great asset to the community.

“This is an exciting time for the city ahead of Bradford being the City of Culture for 2025 and one that Simpson are proud to be a part of.”

During the redevelopment Kala Sangam will be temporarily based at Bank House, in central Bradford.