Final phase of refurbishment of Billingham to be completed next year

Darlington and Stockton Times: An artist's impression of the new look Billingham An artist's impression of the new look Billingham

THE £25m development of Billingham town centre may finally be completed next year.

Work to improve the centre began in 2011 and it was hoped the project would be completed by the end of this year.

However the plan to build a new £2.7m library and council customer service centre in the town was delayed.

Stockton Borough Council has now awarded the contract to Stockton-based company Interserve Construction. Work at the site of the recently demolished old council offices and art gallery will start in mid-January and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

Other works already completed by the council and town centre owners Mayforth include a £2.3m upgrade to paving, seating, lighting and bandstand. Former New public toilets, CCTV, new windows and stairways were also installed by former owners Stockland at the beginning of 2013.

Billingham Health Centre has also been refurbished and a new skate park, tennis courts and games area at John whitehead Park costing £260,000 has also opened.

The biggest project was the £18.5m refurbishment of Billingham Forum in 2011. The Forum’s theatre, skate rink and swimming pool were earmarked for demolition but the theatre was Grade-II listed causing the council to change its plans.

Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor Mike Smith, commented on the next phase of development.

He said: “I’m delighted that a local contractor has now been appointed which will benefit local supply chains and adds to the benefits that investment in Billingham has already brought to the area’s construction industry.

“The new library and customer service centre will be a real asset to the town. It means that Billingham residents will have access to library services suitable for the 21st century and will also be able to interact with Tristar Homes and the council easily, all in one visit.”

The council had hoped a £6m, 52-bedroom apartment block for old people would also be built in the town, however the scheme was rejected by the authority’s planning committee.

For further information about the transformation of Billingham Town Centre, visit www.stockton.gov.uk/billingham

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