An ambitious £570,000 package of improvement work at De Montfort Hall has been approved to allow the venue to put on more outdoor events.

The improvements will include redesigning the power supply to the grounds to make putting on outdoor summer concerts more cost effective and also extending the customer car park off University Road. The extension will provide hard standing for stages and generate additional parking revenue during the rest of the year.

The project also includes drainage improvements and landscaping in the gardens as well as interior renovation work for the venue’s five bars. The project will start next year, with the aim of being complete in time for the 2019 summer season.

The timing of the outdoor excavation work means that the popular Simon Says music festival, usually held in July, will not be held in 2018.

De Montfort Hall general manager, Antony Flint, said: “It’s obviously great news for the hall and means that we can complete our refurbishment and that in future we’ll be able to put on a wider range of outdoor events in the gardens.

“It will require some major ground work though, so unfortunately we’ll have to take a year out of doing outdoor events this coming summer, but we hope to announce a summer 2019 outdoor programme midway through next year.”

The £570,000 package of improvements forms part of Leicester City Council’s recently approved capital programme and supports the overall business plan for De Montfort Hall, which aims to reduce operating costs and increase income in order to make running the hall as sustainable as possible.

Councillor Piara Singh Clair, Deputy City Mayor and Lead on Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “De Montfort Hall has gone from strength to strength over the last few years, and we are really lucky to have such a venue in the city – especially one with such a wonderful outdoor space.

“At the moment we are not able to use the gardens to their full potential and have to bring in temporary equipment for outdoor events. These improvements will make the area much more flexible and mean that a wider range of open air events can be put on and more people can come and enjoy them.”

Chris is a Sparrow.

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