Contractors set to address RAAC and long-term safety at Forum Theatre in Romiley

Stockport Council confirm contractors will be appointed this month to begin work on the Forum Theatre in Romiley

Contractors set to address RAAC and long-term safety at Forum Theatre in Romiley

Extensive investigation work has been ongoing since the Forum Theatre in Romiley closed in September 2023 and Stockport Council can now confirm that contractors are to be appointed this month to make theatre safe after the discovery of Reinforced Aerated Autoclave Concrete (RAAC).

Councillor Mark Roberts, Deputy Leader of the Council said: “I’d like to thank everyone for their support and patience while the RAAC situation has been ongoing, it has been a really challenging issue with many complex elements. Following a constructive meeting between myself and the project delivery team last week, I’m very pleased to announce that contractors are to be appointed by the end of this month and that work will progress soon. I’m particularly grateful to the constructive approach that has been ongoing between NKTA and the council officers and all the efforts behind the scenes that means we now have an opportunity to get the theatre lights back on. It’s great to start moving forward with the plan to get Forum Theatre in Romiley, which is such a valuable and important asset, back up and running in our year as GM Town of Culture so that the Theatre can be used again by the community and I can’t wait to see shows in there again.”

Stuart Dean, Chair of The Trustees NK Theatre Arts, said: “This is really positive news in that we have a green light and will soon have a schedule to work to. I would like to thank the parents of our members for their patience whilst we continue to hold workshops in various locations around the area. We have been humbled by the support from the local community and would like to thank all those who have helped in any way. Our upcoming shows will be advertised as normal on the theatre website together with the details of the venues for each of them which will include New Mills Art Theatre and Stockport Town Hall.”

The presence of RAAC in The Forum Theatre has been known since roof repairs were undertaken in 2017 and since then it has been managed in line with industry standards. However, following the change in Government guidance in August 2023, Stockport Council reviewed its corporate estate and instructed an urgent inspection of the Theatre, which took place by a third party and confirmed the presence of RAAC.

As a precautionary measure and to ensure the safety of staff, performers, and visitors, the decision was taken to close the Theatre to the public in line with Government guidance to undertake further investigations.

Further extensive investigation has continued to determine how and when work can be done to ensure the Forum Theatre can open its doors as soon as possible. To make the building safe, the condition of the RAAC in the roof requires detailed examination before remedial works can be fully costed and implemented.

Stockport Council has approached central government bodies to request funding for the repairs in line with the approach taken to schools and colleges. Approaches have also been made to other organisations facing the same challenges so a joined-up approach can be taken.

NKTA and the Council will work together to fund a package of works that will allow the safe reopening of the site and secure the long-term future of the Theatre and Community Centre.