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Wolverhampton Civic Hall to stay closed until 2020 after significant defects found

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | Wolverhampton entertainment | Published:

Major events booked at the Civic will have to be cancelled or rescheduled elsewhere in the city, including the Grand Slam of Darts and comedians Jason Manford and Sarah Millican.

Civic Hall

Wolverhampton's Civic hall will stay closed until 2020 - with the venue to undergo a major overhaul costing £23 million more than first thought.

Restoration work on the Civic has already started but a much more in-depth job is needed after surveys revealed structural, mechanical, electrical and engineering issues which could damage the building if left unattended.

It means major events booked at the Civic Hall such as Jason Manford and Sarah Millican will not be held at the venue.

Wolverhampton council bosses said they were working with promoters to try and re-schedule the events elsewhere in the city and that people with tickets would be contacted when the situation becomes clear.

The council has confirmed that the Grand Slam of Darts WILL stay in the city, just not at the Civic while repairs are underway.

Significant defects

Building defects are 'significant' and require 'immediate attention', the council said.

The Civic halls revamp was originally due to cost £14.4 million.

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Bosses said the extra £23.6 million would come mainly from 'the sale of surplus council land and buildings' and said there was also a 'strong potential to secure external grants and funding from regional and national bodies'.

Events are not due to return to the Civic until autumn 2020.

Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor John Reynolds, said: “The Civic Halls are a very special place.

“Generations of Wulfrunians and music and comedy fans from across the UK have shared unforgettable memories here with international stars and the biggest bands.

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“This year, the Civic is celebrating its 80th birthday and remains to this day hugely important to our city’s economic well-being."

Different project

He continued: "Every year it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, brings in millions of pounds and supports hundreds of jobs.

“Given the mammoth magnitude of the issues uncovered by our contractors, it’s fair to say that the full restoration work we are now proposing is a very different project from the original one.

“However, a thriving and vibrant Civic Halls - that continues to draw people from all over the country - is a key part of our vision for a successful city.

“We believe we need to make this important commitment to secure jobs and investment and to give the city a venue it can be proud of for generations to come.”

The revamp will result in increased seating through new balconies, improved and new bar and hospitality areas, ventilation, lifts and better access to the Wulfrun Hall.

Significant structural changes are required to accommodate the extra weight of mechanical and electrical equipment, as well as repairs to the fabric of the building.

More asbestos also needs to be removed than initially thought.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Deputy Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Deputy Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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