MAJOR live music events look set to return to the home of Hampshire cricket for the first time in three years.
Bosses at the Ageas Bowl – formerly the Rose Bowl – want to host four-concerts in two years at the 35,000-capacity stadium in West End.
They have already used former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney as an example of the kind of artist capable of packing out the stunning venue.
It will come as exciting news to the tens of thousands of music fans from across the south who have flocked to the ground in the past to watch world-famous rockers like Oasis, The Who and REM.
The venue was also transformed into a giant open air concert venue to welcome veteran stars Neil Diamond and Billy Joel.
The late great tenor Luciano Pavarotti, pictured, had also been lined up to perform at the Rose Bowl, but had to pull out due to ill health.
Concerts have not been staged at the international cricket venue since 2009 as building work has been taking place on new stands and facilities.
Although no acts have yet been booked to perform, a planning application has been submitted for temporary two-year permission that would pave the way for up to four concerts.
Two similar planning bids were approved in 2005 and 2007 during which five major performers lit up the stadium.
A report says the new larger capacity will make the ground an attractive proposition for promoters and artists with a “substantial fan following”.
The report adds: “An example would be Sir Paul McCartney who attracts high audience figures and indeed filled the Millennium Stadium in 2010.”
The planning bid comes just months after controversy raged over the decision to spend millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money buying the land and buildings at the Ageas Bowl.
Members of Liberal Democrat- controlled Eastleigh Borough Council voted along party lines to snap up the ground’s
999-year-lease for £6.5m. The money, which would come from a borrowing facility available to the authority, has still not been handed over to complete the deal because “complex” transactions need
to be finalised.
At the time of the decision a report revealed finances at the ground were “perilous”.
Separate plans were also given the nod to pay for a £30m luxury hotel at the ground, funds for which would be transferred on completion of the building.
Opposition Conservative councillors have branded the funding arrangement “risky”.
But council leader Keith House has always maintained the deal makes sound financial sense and that it will raise the profile of the borough of Eastleigh,
creating hundreds of jobs in the process.