One of Britain’s biggest concert venues is set to get a £29m facelift in the new year.

Wembley Arena is to be restored to its former glory in a £29 million refurbishment project next year.

For the first time since the 1980s the 70-year-old venue will be upgraded, with special efforts being made to reclaim the original 1930s architecture.

In addition to aesthetic improvements, the scheme will increase seating capacity from 10,500 to more than 12,000, and standing from 3600 to 5000. The work will ensure better access for disabled users, and bigger, swankier dressing rooms for performers.

The main entrance to the arena will move to what is currently the back of the building. The arena will close after Christmas, and is due to reopen in January 2006.