I don't see what all the fuss is about. Anyone would think they're playing in a prison cell in that sports hall. It's not that bad ffs, it's just that if you're a player you would much rather be in the arena than in there. They could do with educating the spectators to wait until cue ball has been struck before walking past a table, that's the main thing.
Bottom line is the Barbican arena is a great venue and it's always packed and to win the title you have win 7 matches and it's only the first 2 rounds that the sports hall is used. Therefore the maximum number of matches you play in there is 2, and with few exceptions the players playing in there would have been in the EIS cubicles a couple of years ago anyway. Once you're into the last 32 you're guaranteed in the main arena, and the last 32 is where the UK always started from anyway with the BBC.
What's happened is that the big names have had a moan because they're used to being straight through to the venue as top 16 and the game has changed with the flat 128 concept. If they played the UK in a venue whch could host 8 tables what would the atmosphere be like? It would be like a PTC. The only venue I've been to which could work is the Tempodrom in Berlin and there aren't too many of those about. All other multi-table set ups I've been to haven't had the view you can get at the Barbican or Tempodrom.
Just say they went to the Ricoh Arena or the Guild Hall. How would the problems go away? It's about getting the early rounds played and then once you're into the last 32 as from yesterday, there's no more problems with the venue.
From a spectator point of view the sports hall allows you to view the matches close in so you can get pretty close to the tables and that's always good to watch if you're into your snooker. It's an experience.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the Welsh Open plays out because I think the Cardiff Arena was a great venue for the 9-ball pool a few years ago with the multi-tiered layout.