THE Albert Halls will close for up to nine months so it can undergo a £4 million make-over.
The Grade-II listed theatre and entertainment venue, which plays host to dozens of shows, pantos, conferences and weddings every year, is set for a complete overhaul.
Town hall bosses say the revamp is expected to start by March 2015, and the Hall’s 42 permanent members of staff will be found other roles within the council, as functions and shows are moved to other venues in Bolton.
But about 70 casual staff will also be affected by the closure.
Plans for the new-look Halls are still in the early stages of development as the council now look to appoint an architect to deliver its vision.
Malcolm Cox, director of environmental services at the authority, said money for the scheme was allocated in the council’s capital programme budget, saved for big schemes.
He added: “We’re looking to put in a really nice public restaurant, as well as opening up its accessibility to the public.
“We want to make the Halls a high quality venue for both sides of the business — the conferences and weddings but also for events and programmes.
“It will be quite an opportunity to look at maximising its appeal and accessibility.
“In the end it will be a venue that is fit for purpose that people will want to visit.”
Roof repairs, electrical maintenance, a new lift and general redecoration of the protected building is on the cards, and work will complete the rest of the town hall is refurbished.
Anyone who has made a booking at The Albert Halls function rooms for 2015 will be offered help to find an alternative venue.
Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, said he is looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for the public areas of the town hall.
He added: “The town hall is a magnificent Grade-II listed building and we have worked hard on improving facilities to enable us to accommodate the majority of our employees, so we can rationalise the rest of our property portfolio thus saving £1 million per year.
“During this time we have kept The Albert Halls’ side of the building running and open to the public.
“However we are now at the stage where we can focus our attention to the theatre, Dido restaurant and function rooms with the aim of renovating the building and improving the services we offer.
“There are essential maintenance works that need carrying out, but we also have the opportunity to improve access and develop amenities to enhance the public’s overall experience of The Albert Halls.”