Wolverhampton Civic Halls gets £38m restoration

Wolverhampton Civic Halls gets £38m restoration

Wolverhampton's iconic Civic Halls will undergo a £38m redevelopment to address issues with the building that require immediate attention.

In-depth surveys and reports have been carried out, revealing structural, mechanical, electrical and engineering issues that could be detrimental to the Grade II-listed building’s operation.

The original improvement plan has now been expanded and a complete restoration of the historic halls has now been proposed.

The plan should ensure that the venue will be a high-quality entertainment venue for the next 25 years and beyond.

Independent consultants have estimated that the project will support 876 direct and indirect jobs, bring 440,000 visitors a year to the city, and generate £8.3m worth of goods and services to the city.

The building will be closed until Autumn 2020, but a number of events that are booked in for 2018 have been offered the chance to relocate to alternative venues in the city.

The plan was approved by the council's cabinet resources panel on Tuesday but must be officially agreed by the full council at the end of the month.

If approved, the increase of £23.6 million on the project will be mainly funded by the sale of surplus council land and buildings.

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.

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

"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 original improvement scheme included 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.

Asbestos requiring removal to facilitate core works is also more extensive than anticipated prior to initial opening up works.

Building defects are significant and require immediate attention, such as roof repairs and re-tiling, lift replacement, building fabric and parapet repairs.