PLANS are under way to further improve a climbing wall in Newton Aycliffe, which is already rated as one of the best in the country.

Rock Antics, which runs the wall at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre, has rec- ently extended the facilities which now occupy an entire hall.

The climbing wall's reputation has grown significantly in recent years and the group now has more than 9,000 members.

Several groups use the wall, including secondary schools, outdoor adventure organisations and groups which help excluded children, young offenders and high-risk youngsters.

A report to Sedgefield Borough Council's executive committee on Thursday will say: "The extension has recently been completed and now, according to specialists in the climbing world, is among the best climbing facilities in the country.

"However, since the climbing wall was first developed the lighting to the hall became an issue of some concern.

"With the extension and the design of the new facility it is apparent that the lighting is less than adequate and therefore and complete new lighting scheme has been designed."

A developer has submitted an estimate of £7,234 to redesign the lighting to both the original climbing area and the new extension. Committee members will be asked to approve the proposal.