Forum's revamp on schedule

A MULTI-MILLION pound revamp of one of the region's most popular leisure facilities is due to be completed soon.

Billingham Forum is due to reopen to users in late spring after being closed for more than 18 months for an ambitious 17m refurbishment.

Contractors say the recent heavy snow and bad weather has proved only a minor inconvenience and are working hard to finish the project on time.

Last year's harsh winter and unforeseen structural issues put the original timetable back 16 weeks.

The improvements to the Forum, built in the 60s, are expected to last for the next 30 years.

An update on contractors Morgan Sindall's website states: "The redevelopment works to the Forum continue in earnest with the recent snowfall proving to be only a minor hindrance.

"All stakeholders are working together closely to resolve the remaining interface issues in a timely manner to avoid any further delay to the project completion date.

"Internal finishing trades are progressing well and it is now possible to feel a real sense of how good the building will look to the public when it reopens."

The Forum has been closed to the public since work started in June 2009.

But when it reopens, visitors are set to benefit from an improved swimming pool with additional training pool, refurbished changing rooms, toilets and spectator areas.

The gym is being extended to provide another 30 health and fitness stations, making 70 in total. Changing facilities will be improved and a new dance studio is also included in the works.

The Forum theatre, which has played host to some of the biggest names in showbusiness over the years, is being improved structurally.

An enhanced reception area with new cafe area is also being built in a glazed atrium.

A children's play barn plus catering and function room is also included in the scheme.

The state of the Forum had been declining for some time and before the scheme was agreed.

It is being led by Stockton Borough Council, Morgan Sindall and Tees Active.

Activities have been provided at alternative locations across Billingham and the wider area while the work has been carried out.