The first details of the £8 million facelift for Blackburn's King George's Hall have been revealed.

In a major step forward for the complete refurbishment proposals, a planning application for repairs to the roof of the Grade II listed building, which is East Lancashire’s premier entertainment venue, has been submitted.

This is the first phase of works to the hall in the town centre's Northgate.

The money will come from a Levelling Up grant of £20m to Blackburn with Darwen Council from the government.

The historic building, owned by the authority, has hosted some of the greatest bands in musical history, including Queen, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie.

Lancashire Telegraph: KGH has hosted some iconic artists over the yearsKGH has hosted some iconic artists over the years

When Led Zep's former lead singer Robert Plant played there on March 29 he told the audience: "Blackburn, this hall is f***ing great.

"What did you lot do to deserve it?"

Most recently, ex-Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher played a one-off show at the venue in aid of Nightsafe.

Martin Eden, Blackburn with Darwen Council's operations director, said: “Like many historic buildings, King George’s Hall is in desperate need of repairs and upgrades both internally and externally.

“Retaining the building’s character and charm is at the forefront of all we are planning to do while making the venue fit for the future.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Details of the first phase of repairs to the roofDetails of the first phase of repairs to the roof

The council's growth boss, Councillor Quesir Mahmood, said: "King George's Hall is the jewel in the crown of Blackburn's cultural quarter.

"It is a magnificent building and this investment is long overdue.

"It is important not just as a venue for Blackburn but for the whole of the North West.

"The work will preserve its characteristics and prepare it for many years to come."

A heritage, design and access statement submitted with the application says: "These works are the first phase of a programme of repairs and renovations at the hall which are intended to bring it back to the grandeur it held upon its opening in 1921.

"The works consist of the repair of the pitched and flat roof of King George’s Hall, with replacement and improvement of current waterproof systems, whilst in keeping with the original style and materials.

"The roof lights which are situated within the flat roof are to be repaired and replaced, whilst the drainage goods are to be restored to their original condition.

"King George’s Hall is a Grade II listed building which lies within Northgate conservation area.

"It is a prominent landmark in the town centre and a monumental piece of history in the heart of the town, making it of huge importance to the people of Blackburn as well as visitors.

"The proposals laid out in this statement mark the essential first steps on the journey to restore and regenerate this highly significant asset to its intended glory.

"King George’s Hall is a mainstay skyline asset in the centre of Blackburn and the roof works have been deemed by the surveying team to be the most crucial area of the building to begin works on, to improve its structural integrity and enable the wider programme to commence.

"As the works included in this application are confined to the roof area of King George’s Hall, the interior of the Hall and its significance is not considered further at this stage."

The statement details the initial works proposed including:

  • replacement of the roof covering as a priority due to evidence of water ingress to the Auditorium columns and moisture staining to the ceiling plasterwork;
  • replacement of the felt covering within the valley gutters;
  • replacement of the lead flashing details to the parapet wall;
  • replacing the skylight units;
  • replacing all rainwater goods with new painted cast iron;
  • de-scaling the masonry parapet walls; and
  • replacement rooflights of aluminium and laminated glass.

The statement says: "The roof comprises two elements, the flat roof and the pitched roof. The proposal seeks to replace these with newer, water-tight, but near identical versions.

"The slates and tiles replaced will be in the same size and style of the originals, with 75 per cent of the materials earmarked for reuse."

The council’s long-term ambition to upgrade King George’s Hall with a multi-million-pound facelift was first revealed in the Lancashire Telegraph in February 2019.

Any refurbishment will eventually progress to the interior including the 2,000 seater balconied main auditorium, and smaller 750 Windsor Suite for shows and functions.

The building also includes the new Akbar's restaurant in the former Blakey’s Cafe/Bar, which opened last month and has proved popular so far with punters from Blackburn with Darwen and further afield.