THREE years and two million visitors on from its official opening ceremony in September 2015, Northwich Memorial Court is well on its way to becoming a ‘cultural hub’, bosses say.

Since opening in May 2015 in place of the former Northwich Memorial Hall and magistrates’ court, the Brio Leisure centre has offered a myriad of events.

Encompassing the former Memorial Hall and Moss Farm leisure complex wet-side facilities, Memorial Court has offered something new to the town’s residents and visitors alike.

As well as leisure facilities and regular entertainment events, the venue has opened up new possibilities such as Comic Con and The Charlatans’ ‘North by Northwich’ homecoming festival.

Entertainment manager Phil Harding said: “The venue has certainly helped to bring people from a wider area into Northwich from across the region, and we’ve even had a few visitors from abroad.

“With the increase in quality of local events, Northwich will be moving towards becoming a cultural hub in the region.

“The centre has added a local option and opportunity to see national touring shows in town.

“Part of the success of North By Northwich was due to the presence of a venue which was large enough to accommodate the core of such an event.

“The continuing development of the local night time economy in Northwich has also been important, attracting more people into the town.”

While famous nights at 1960-built Memorial Hall – lovingly known as ‘the morgue’ – included bands like The Beatles, The Kinks and The Who, the new venue is making waves as a multi-purpose destination.

Centre manager Paul Hesketh said: “The vision for the centre was to provide accessible, enjoyable facilities which allowed people in the area to lead healthy and active, as well as providing top class entertainment facilities to deliver a variety of events.

“It’s important to meet the needs of the community and we spend a lot of time ensuring that our programme represents all elements of the population.”

The annual Christmas pantomime has proved to be one of the most popular events and Cinderella is set to be watched by 18,000 through December.

This year’s run will include a dementia-friendly, relaxed performance, while the venue also hosts Vintage Matinees allowing older residents to regularly enjoy shows and events.

Paul added: “We’ve been most surprised by how many local theatre and dance groups have used the centre for their shows, and especially how well it’s worked alongside the professional programme.”