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Acclaimed street artist to transform Bradford’s Connaught Rooms with vibrant mural

Plan for mural on side of listed Bradford building is approved

A new mural by an acclaimed street artist will provide a “culturally enriching alternative” to the illegal advertising boards that have plagued a listed building in recent years.

Plans to install a large mural on the site of the Connaught Rooms on Manningham Lane have been approved by Bradford Council this week.

The artwork will feature a bright image of cars, and will help promote the Fuelling Futures campaign – which aims to use young people in Bradford’s passion for cars to boost their skills.

Connaught Rooms Mural – picture from The Leap’s planning application. Image: LDRS

The campaign is run by arts group -The Leap, and the group recently submitted the application for a mural on the prominent building.

A quote from the group included in the application says: “We want to take the passion that young people in Bradford have for cars and car culture and steer it towards an educational outcome.”

The building is currently an events venue, but was built as a Masonic Hall and is Grade II listed.

The application said: “The vacant elevation serves as a critical facade connecting various commercial and residential areas, making it an ideal location to capture the attention of a diverse audience.

“Its vibrant presence is poised to inspire individuals to eagerly sign up for the programme, transforming the busy road into a dynamic hub of engagement and community involvement.

“Over the years, the site has seen the installation of various advertisements, many of which were unlawful.

“The proposed art installation not only mitigates the risk of unlawful advertising but does so with minimal impact on the aesthetic and heritage value of the building, providing a visually appealing and culturally enriching alternative.”

Referring to the artist behind the work, the application added; “Mohammed Ali is a street-artist that uses his art to empower communities, often celebrating community stories around faith and migration.

“For nearly two decades, he has created murals, art installations, live performances and film projections, to get people to look into each other’s lives in an increasingly polarised society.

Planning officers said: “The mural will be painted on plywood panels and installed onto the wall rather than directly painted onto the stone work to reduce damage to the fabric of the building.

“It will be positioned on an unremarkable blank side wall/elevation of the building which faces onto Breaton Street and will be visible from the adjacent footpaths and highways.

“(It will) comprise of vivid colours which would add interest to the blank elevation.

“It will not be illuminated with the mural to not detract from the character or appearance of the Grade II listed building of which it will be installed and will make a positive contribution to the streetscape.

“It is noted that the mural is a community art installation so the style may not be to every bodies taste as art is subjective. No objections to the proposed mural have been raised by either members of the public or the Council’s Conservation Officer.”

One condition of the approval is that the mural can only remain in place for five years.

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