Hydro ‘will open on time’ insist operators

THE operators of a new music venue have denied reports it will be forced to cancel top rock and pop acts because work on the 12,000-seat arena is months behind schedule.

The Hydro, which is under construction at Finnieston in Glasgow, by the River Clyde, was reported to be two months behind and running millions of pounds over budget.

The new venue, which sits next to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), was said to be the subject of legal wrangling between contractor Lend Lease and the client, the SECC.

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However, a spokesman for the SECC said there was “no legal dispute” which would prevent the ­scheduled opening in ­September.

According to reports yesterday, Lend Lease is holding out for around £98 million, while the SECC is sticking to a fee of around £90m in a disagreement over the final bill.

Delays in completing the venue were said to be casting doubt over shows by acts including Fleetwood Mac, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, The Proclaimers, Jessie J, and Andrea Bocelli.

However, the SECC said the claims relating to the legal dispute were “out of date”.

A spokesman added: “We will be announcing a very high-profile opening act for Scotland’s new home of live entertainment shortly”.

Organisers hope the new venue will free up the SECC for more exhibitions and attract more major music acts to play Glasgow.

The first concert currently advertised for the new arena is opera singer Andrea Bocelli, on 15 September.

Two large stage shows – Peter Pan and Jesus Christ Superstar – and Fleetwood Mac are also planned for the first month.

Reports yesterday said SECC chief executive John Sharkey had been in talks for most of last week with Lend Lease.

Sharkey was said to be attempting to find a breakthrough and had told fellow board members that while there are efforts to pull out all the stops for a September opening, the alternative date of the end of November was realistic.