WORK on converting Bournemouth’s Pier Theatre into an indoor adventure sports attraction will start straight after the festive period, it has been confirmed.

The all-weather attraction, which will mean the end of the theatre, was originally expected to open in May 2012 but the need to run a new power supply to the pier delayed the scheme by two years.

However, operators Openwide International said they were now in a position to start work on the privately-funded leisure scheme early in the New Year, ready for a launch in May 2014.

They intend to release full details of the scheme in the New Year but they have planning permission for a number of indoor adventure sporting attractions, including a standing surf wave, climbing walls, bouldering wall and indoor high ropes course. The original structure of the pier will be retained and the outside will remain unchanged.

In accordance with its planning conditions, Open-wide has been working with the Theatres Trust and Bournemouth Council to offer for salvage various equipment and furniture from the inside of the theatre.

A list of fixtures and fittings was circulated to local theatres but there were no takers. The seats from the theatre were advertised in The Stage newspaper and Openwide has had one response.

Bournemouth council leader Cllr John Beesley said: “Most people agree that there is a need for more wet weather attractions in Bournemouth and I am pleased that Openwide is prepared to invest more in the pier, in what could prove to be a successful attraction.

“We recognise that the Pier Theatre has been a popular facility in the past and is held in great affection by some residents.

“Openwide have given a commitment to respect the structural integrity of the original building whilst potentially bringing some-thing new and dynamic to the town.”