Aldeburgh: Project to mark Benjamin Britten’s centenary ‘unaffected’ by building firm going into administration

Composer Benjamin Britten taken by Hans Wild

Composer Benjamin Britten taken by Hans Wild - Credit: Archant

A PROJECT to celebrate the centenary of one of the county’s greatest composers remains on track despite the building company responsible for some of the work going into administration.

The Britten-Pears Foundation (BPF) in Aldeburgh is currently preparing to mark the 100th birthday of Lowestoft-born Benjamin Britten. A large archive centre has already been built, while further work is also being carried out at his former home of the Red House.

Bosses at the BPF have assured that everything is still on course for the project to be ready by June - despite Norfolk-based builders JS Hay, which had been carrying out some of the work, calling in administrators.

Kevin Gosling, director of communications for the BPF, said: “The news about JS Hay, while very sad for the company and its employees, will not affect the re-opening of The Red House site at the start of this year’s Aldeburgh Festival.

“JS Hay has been working on the refurbishment of the library buildings and the cottage where Britten had his composing studio.

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“They have done an outstanding job. The internal fitting out of the new exhibition is being undertaken by a separate firm and is unaffected. The new archive is also being built by a different firm, RG Carter, and is unaffected.”

Last week is emerged that JS Hay had made 29 people redundant and been forced into administration.

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But the boss of the 50-year-old firm near Norwich said there is still hope for the remaining 23 staff, as the company continued to work with administrators in a bid to “safeguard some of the jobs” and sell part of the business as a going concern.

Rob Lockhart, managing director of JS Hay, appointed PKF Accountants as the joint administrators, who have already moved to sell some of the company’s assets – including its office and workshop premises, vehicles, plant, office equipment and raw materials.

Mr Lockhart said: “This has been a very difficult time for everyone involved with JS Hay. Placing the company into administration has not been easy, but it provides the best chance for safeguarding some of the jobs here and repaying the creditors. I’d like to thank all the staff and customers for their loyal support.”

Matt Howard, accountant and business advisor for PKF, said: “Despite an excellent reputation for the quality of its work and high level of customer service, the depressed state of the construction sector generally has had a detrimental effect on JS Hay’s current financial position. This was compounded by some significant bad debts in recent months, which resulted in the directors seeking advice about the company’s options.”

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