A MUSIC centre in Darlington has put forward ambitious plans for expansion which would see it become a social and cultural hub for the community.

The Forum, in Borough Road, Darlington, is a live music venue with recording studios and rooms for teaching a music-based education programme.

The proposals, drafted by an architect, include plans to increase its main hall capacity and build a new floor dedicated to teaching, as well as a brand new entrance area and reception.

Allison McKay, manager at The Forum said: “It’s about upgrading the building, moving the space around and creating a better environment to learn, perform, relax and socialise in.

“It’s also about increasing our services for the town. We'll be putting in decent kitchen facilities, creating an environment where even if you're not involved in music, can feel like you can come in and sit and have a coffee, or grab a bite to eat and feel you are in a cultural welcoming environment.”

Managers at the venue believe the current capacity of 170 people is not enough, and say that if they want bigger bands to play at the venue then they need to increase the capacity.

More rooms are also needed to meet the demand for the popular Access to Music course ran at The Forum.

Ms McKay added: “The plans going forward are really quite exciting. The building is a problem, it is an old Victorian school which has been here since 1879, it's been changed and modified but the bricks and mortar are old.”

Managers are looking for investors to help fund the expansion.

For more information visit theforumonline.co.uk