A music venue which is being dubbed "Co-flop" is being “monitored closely” as contractors continue work to complete the £365m Co-op Live arena in Manchester.

The biggest indoor arena in the UK postponed its opening show for the third time as fans queued outside just minutes before doors opened on Wednesday, May 1, for what was meant to be its first official event.

The 23,500-capacity venue aims to attract big-name acts away from London as well as awards shows and sporting events.

The Eagles, Janet Jackson and Eric Clapton are due to play at the arena, but so far only a test event by Rick Astley has gone ahead.

It is understood a nozzle from the ventilation and air conditioning system fell to the ground from the ceiling shortly before last night’s event.

No one was injured but the venue management decided to pull the plug on the performance from Bronx rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie.

Thousands of fans, for the third time, were left disappointed after turning up for an event only for it to be cancelled.

This comes just a few days after the Bolton comedian, Peter Kay, had his shows delayed for a third time.

Kay was due to be the first person to perform at the Co-op Live on April 23, but arena bosses pushed the dates back to Monday, April 29 and Tuesday, April 30 and have since pushed them back even further to Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24.

The fiasco has led to questions and criticism of how the arena’s opening has been handled.

Steve Millington, professor of place management at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “In the short term, it’s not good is it?

“It is embarrassing really and you do wonder what’s gone on in the planning or development. There seems to be a lot of problems.

“Ultimately in the long-run, in 10 years time, nobody will be talking about this, but you do wonder what the Co-op are getting out of this.

“People were asking questions whether Manchester needed a second indoor arena, three miles down the road from the one in the city centre.”

Sacha Lord, appointed by mayor Andy Burnham, as the night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, made his first statement about the issues with the Arena to the PA news agency on Thursday.

He said: “As with all event venues, the safety of staff and customers is the highest priority even if that means there are delays.

“We are monitoring the situation closely.”

The main contractor for the arena, the construction firm BAM said: “The safety of fans and staff is our number one priority.

“Unfortunately, in the run-up to last night’s concert, an issue arose that meant the difficult decision was made to cancel the event.

“We apologise for the inconvenience that this has caused for many.

“Our team continues to work diligently on completing works to the arena.”

Manchester City Council said the authority’s building control is yet to sign the building off, though this is routine procedure until all “snagging” is completed and venues can operate without a completion certificate.

Earlier opening shows had attendances slashed and eventually events pulled after an issue with emergency services communications systems.

Tim Leiweke, chairman and chief executive of the Oak View Group said: “The safety and security of all visiting and working on Co-op Live is our utmost priority, and we could not and will not run any event until it is absolutely safe to do so.

“I deeply apologise for the impact that this has had on ticket holders and fans.”

The Co-operative Group, which has reportedly paid up to £100m in a 15-year deal to have its name on the ill-fated arena, said it will seek a “full explanation” from Oak View Group.

In a statement the firm said: “As the naming rights sponsor for Co-op Live, we are shocked at the incident which has led to late cancellation of tonight’s show at the arena.

“We are relieved that no-one has been injured, but we share the disappointment and frustration of ticket holders, many of whom are Co-op members, with the continuing delay to the opening of Co-op Live and the disruption that this is causing to everyone who has been looking forward to attending events.

“We will be seeking a full explanation from Oak View Group (OVG), who are responsible for the building, to the obvious questions arising from this, together with a clear plan from the Co-op Live venue management team at OVG for opening the venue and postponed and future events.”

The arena’s general manager, Gary Roden, announced his resignation last week.

OVG Run around 400 venues across the world, mainly in North America, but this is its first venture in the UK, the firm’s website promising, “synergistic opportunities in the live entertainment space globally”.

OVG claims the Co-op Live arena will be “world leading” boasting their venues “go beyond the limits of what we once thought possible to deliver the very best in live entertainment.”

The venue will generate an estimated £1.5bn for the local economy, according to OVG.

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