Work to transform Wolverhampton’s iconic music venue could finally get underway – if planners given the green light.
The City of Wolverhampton has submitted a planning application for the huge overhaul of the Civic and Wulfrun Halls in North Street.
The much-delayed scheme will see a major refurbishment and extension of the concert hall which will see total capacity increased by almost a thousand and a raft of improvements made.
Works will include new seating tiers, new bars, hospitality suites, new toilets, improved access, better lighting and new heating and ventilation systems.
But the project hit a series of sour notes after it initially closed in 2015 for what was then a £14 million development that would be completed by October 2018.
During works it was discovered that the venue would require major asbestos removal, urgent repairs to the fabric of the building and roofing as well as replacement security systems.
Bosses scrapped the initial scheme in 2017 – with the venue briefly reopening for events – and it is now expected to be completed and ready for reopening in 2021 with the final bill coming in at more than £38 million.
The popular Civic Hall has attracted a host of huge acts in its 80-year history including Radiohead, David Bowie, The Specials, Blur, Van Morrison and Wolves fan Robert Plant.
It has also hosted shows by comedians, tea dances, civic events and is home to the Grand Slam of Darts competition.
But the authority said competition from rival venues and changing public tastes meant the work was needed to enable the keep the Civic at the forefront of the events sector.
The planning application says: “The Civic Halls was constructed in 1938, and has been a key venue in Wolverhampton ’s entertainment and cultural scene since then.
“The Civic Halls have staged a number of high profile music gigs, club nights and orchestral concerts since its first concert in May 1938.
“The venue remains very popular but over the years the audience requirements have changed, and there are increasing commercial competition from other venues around the area.
“The interiors of the venue have become tired and in need of refurbishment or renewal.
“City of Wolverhampton Council are keen to maintain the Civic Halls to a high standard, to improve the accessibility of the existing building and bring the internal accommodation up to a high quality standard befitting to such an important historic venue.
“The audience capacity will be increased to attract a broader range of acts, performers and artists, which will in turn increase the entertainment and cultural activities on offer in the city centre.
“The audience experience will be improved by providing additional bars and catering, and improving the public areas, circulation areas and WCs.”