Final Frontier for famous golden mile club?

It welcomed Hollywood stars, musical legends and put Batley on the entertainment map.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 31st January 2014, 8:34 am
The Frontier in  Bradford Road, Batley. (D531H404)
The Frontier in Bradford Road, Batley. (D531H404)

But the Frontier – formerly Batley Variety Club – could be torn down to make way for a shopping centre or office complex.

The news was revealed by a developer at a Batley History Group meeting that took a nostalgic look at the club where Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Morecambe and Wise and Louis Armstrong once trod the boards.

Richard Morton, one of the directors of Landmark Development Projects 2000 Limited, based in Leeds, told Monday’s meeting that he had been asked to evaluate the Bradford Road site for potential development opportunities.

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Malcolm Haigh.

He said the site could become a shopping or office centre but stressed that the history of the club would be recognised.

He said: “While we recognise that the club no longer enjoys the attraction or support of former years we should not forget the power and pride of its past.”

One of the club’s owners, Sara Battye, told the News: “We are just in the early stages of exploring possibilities for alternative use of the site.

“We all understand it has a significant place in history but sadly its fortunes are not that which they were in its heyday.”

She added that while the site was being evaluated, no plans had been made and any development would need to go through the planning process before work could begin.

Batley Business Association chairman Andrew Marsden said he would be sad if the club was demolished but welcomed the opportunities for Batley the site presented.

He said: “Batley without the Frontier just doesn’t seem right, but any new business or new development has got to be a positive thing for the town.

“A business park would be fantastic, why not? It’s a great location for a business park and it would bring new industry into the town, new people, and would create jobs.”

However he said building a shopping centre on the Bradford Road site would detract from the town centre.

For Batley History Group chairman and former News journalist Malcolm Haigh, the announcement on Monday was especially significant.

He said: “I was there for the start of Batley Variety Club. I was the first person to write anything about the club, so in a way this was a conclusion of my involvement with it, inviting the developer to the meeting to say it could be pulled down.”