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NewsCo-op Live Arena opening delayed until May

Co-op Live Arena opening delayed until May

The highly anticipated opening of Manchester’s new Co-op Live Arena has been postponed once again, with the grand opening now set for May.

The decision comes as the 23,500-seat venue – the largest indoor arena in the UK – continues to face readiness issues.

A fully tested emergency services communication system, some remaining internal security systems and fire safety measures still need to be rigorously tested.

Bolton comic Peter Kay had shows originally planned for April 23 and 24, but had to be put back due to the venue not being ready. They were initially rescheduled for April 29 and 30.

In a Facebook post to fans, Kay said: “My apologies once again but unfortunately the Co-op Live still isn’t ready and so, as yet, remains untested for a large-scale audience. Consequently, they are having to reschedule my two shows yet again (I know I can’t believe it either).

“It’s very disappointing but your safety is very important, and I won’t compromise that.”

Co-op Live’s manager, Gary Roden, resigned yesterday amid a series of challenges at the venue.

A Co-op Live spokesman said: “Since making the difficult decision to postpone the live shows at Co-op Live due to take place this week, we have been undertaking an extensive protocol of testing critical procedures to ensure all areas are ready for fans.

“To ensure that we can run all shows safely. regretfully we have now had to take the decision to reschedule the planned Black Keys and Peter Kay shows.

“We deeply appreciate the impact this will have on excited fans, and sincerely apologise for the inconvenience that this change will undoubtedly cause.”

Peter Kay will now take to the stage on May 23 and 24. American rock band The Black Keys, who were due to perform tomorrow, will now play on May 15.

The arena also faced setbacks last weekend when a test event featuring Rick Astley was cancelled, resulting in thousands of tickets being voided.

A joint statement from Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, North West Ambulance Service, released today said: “As a whole group we support the decision of Co-op Live to step down the event tomorrow, and we will continue to work together as they move to completion.

“We have discussed with the Co-op Live venue this week the actions that they needed to take ahead of their planned public opening and while a considerable amount of work has taken place, and learning taken from last week’s test event, we all agree that there is more to complete before the venue can welcome audiences safely.

“Whilst we understand this will be disappointing, we cannot compromise on public safety. Our focus is, and always will be, the wellbeing of residents and visitors to our city. Following last Saturday’s test event, where temporary mitigations were put in place, we were assured that our concerns about the venue would be addressed before a public opening. That work is continuing as they move to welcoming events with larger audience numbers.

“The elements outstanding include a fully tested emergency services communication system, and some remaining internal security systems, and fire safety measures.

“Work is progressing quickly in all of these areas, and all partners involved look forward to the venue being open and able to welcome guests safely once they are completed.”

The arena is expected to open on May 1 with a performance by US rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie.

All Peter Kay and Black Keys tickets remain valid and ticket holders will be contacted by their point of purchase. Refunds are available to those who can no longer attend.

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