City of Wolverhampton Council has been granted planning approval for its revised Civic Halls refurbishment designs. The application was made last month in response to new structural findings during the preliminary works. Detailed investigations showed the load bearing capacity of the existing steel structure is less than was originally anticipated.  The designs have therefore been revised, with the main change being a modification to the shape of the proposed second balcony in the Civic Hall.

The changes are in keeping with the original refurbishment proposals but instead of the initially proposed U shape, the new balcony will now be contained at the rear of the hall, with the added benefit of an improved view of the stage for more customers.

The Civic Hall capacity will raise by over 500. The Wulfrun Hall will also get a balcony, increasing its capacity by over 200, allowing both venues to cater for almost 5,000 people in total.

Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “This is an important step forward for the project.

“Modifications to the design have been made in order to retain as many original features of this historic listed building as possible, while keeping the new-and-improved facilities that were shown in the original planning application.

“While the new design means a slight reduction in the number of additional seats to be installed in the Civic Hall, putting more seating at the rear will mean better sight lines and an improved visitor experience overall.”

Details of the preferred contractor selected to carry out the refurbishment works will follow shortly.

As planned, the venue will temporarily re-open to accommodate the Grand Slam of Darts in November 2016.

The Civic Halls refurbishment is part of more than £992 million of investment in city centre projects either on site or in the pipeline as the regeneration of Wolverhampton continues.