ROCKETING numbers of people are pouring into Worcester's iconic Hive - with its popularity showing no signs of a slow-down.

A new report has revealed how an extra 24,000 visits have passed through the doors over the last year, taking it to a record-breaking 744,986.

Interest in the popular 'explore the past' exhibitions has surged 57 per to 67,063 and on top of that another 9,260 new members have signed up since last March, taking it to 24,840 since opening.

The findings have been labelled "very impressive" in a Worcestershire County Council report, which says bosses are keen to increase it further.

Since opening in July 2012 a staggering 1.4 million visits have now taken place, making it one of the most popular libraries in the country.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for localism and communities, said: "It's a fantastic facility, I had friends up from London on the weekend and they were amazed by it, as well as the fact it's open until 10pm.

"The breadth of what it offers, as a library, the archives and archaeology service, as a place to meet and everything else is brilliant.

"It's an ongoing project for us and as the report says, The Hive is a constantly evolving animal.

"The figures are excellent and I'm not surprised they are up. It's also a perfect example of partnership working."

Your Worcester News can reveal how the council is now intent on exploiting it as venue to do business to get a commercial return on it.

A new "enterprise workplan" has been drawn up in a bid to increase room hire and make sure The Hive is represented at commercial fairs and promoted at networking events.

The council is also now offering start-up classes on-site for people who want to launch a business, and is exploring opening it early for breakfast meetings.

On top of that, as part of The Hive's ongoing investments plans are being drawn up to improve the cafe, main entrance and Croft Road car park.

The county council says it wants to develop some kind of clear public realm space to make the car park even more closely linked with the building.

The new spending package will take another six months to put together, with further details due in September.

The Hive, which is ran in conjunction with the University of Worcester, has already won 13 national awards including Civic Building of the Year.