A historic Suffolk concert hall opened by the Queen and described by pop star Ed Sheeran as a "beautiful setting," has been granted listed status.

Snape Maltings Concert Hall, which is closely associated with the famous composer Benjamin Britten, has been granted Grade II* listed status by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) reflecting its historical importance and placing controls on changes to the building.

The 31-year-old Shape of You singer, who lives in nearby Framlingham, chose the venue for his Radio 1 Big Weekend gig last year.

The hall was opened by the Queen in 1967.

Just two years later a fire reduced it to a shell, but with the help of a fundraising appeal, it was restored and reopened in 1970.

It is home to the Aldeburgh Festival, which was founded by Britten, singer Peter Pears and opera librettist and theatrical director Eric Crozier and is now in its 73rd year.

This year's festival, a 24-day celebration of music and the arts, starts on Friday.

The Snape Maltings site was bought in 1841 by businessman Newson Garrett.

By 1844, he had created large warehouses and an extensive malting operation at Snape and was sending 17,000 quarts of barley a year to brewers in London and Newcastle.

New buildings erected between around 1846 and 1859 were reputedly designed by Mr Garrett and constructed using red and white brick from his own brickworks at Aldeburgh.

The site went into decline after the Second World War and was put up for sale in 1965.

The largest of the former malthouses was acquired and converted into a concert hall by the festival.

The site, which is owned and run by the music, arts and heritage charity Britten Pears Arts, is now also home to independent shops, art galleries and cafes.

As well as the Concert Hall, the Britten Pears building and former granaries at Snape have also been newly listed as Grade II.

Harry Young, Britten Pears Arts chief operating officer, said: "We are so pleased that the site's listing status has been updated and that Snape Maltings Concert Hall has been listed at Grade II* in recognition of its importance and national significance.

"We consider it a huge privilege to be custodians of this special site, always guided by the vision of our founders Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears."

Cllr David Ritchie, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for planning and coastal management, said: “I'm thrilled to know that this jewel in the crown of East Suffolk will be afforded special protection and granted further security for the enjoyment of future generations.”

East Anglian Daily Times: David Ritchie, Conservative cabinet member for planning and coastal management at East Suffolk CouncilDavid Ritchie, Conservative cabinet member for planning and coastal management at East Suffolk Council (Image: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL)