Musicians' accomodation demand grows

THE world-wide reputation of music in Suffolk will have a major economic spin-off for the county, it has been claimed.More and more musicians are flocking to the Aldeburgh area to enjoy the facilities at Snape Maltings and this is leading to an increased demand for overnight stays and meals out.

Richard Smith

THE world-wide reputation of music in Suffolk will have a major economic spin-off for the county, it has been claimed.

More and more musicians are flocking to the Aldeburgh area to enjoy the facilities at Snape Maltings and this is leading to an increased demand for overnight stays and meals out.

Now Aldeburgh Music is aiming to buy a former housing complex for elderly people in the High Street, Aldeburgh, and convert it into accommodation for musicians.

The charity wants to buy the redundant Elizabeth Court and use 16 rooms - but it has stressed that it will still need rooms from “loyal landlords and landladies” in the area.

In a separate development Aldeburgh Music's sister organisation, the Britten-Pears Foundation, will build three studios at the Red House for visiting artists.

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At Elizabeth Court there will be minimal cosmetic changes with a new roof, decoration and carpets. The building is owned by Flagship Housing Group and it has pledged to invest the proceeds of the sale into affordable homes in the town.

Aldeburgh Music has started work on a £14million development of music facilities at Snape Maltings which will enhance the reputation of the complex.

Jonathan Reekie, chief executive of Aldeburgh Music said: “In the past we have rented about 5,000 beds a year in Aldeburgh to put up visiting artists for concerts, Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme courses, residencies and education events.

“Historically, a lot of this accommodation has been supplied by supportive local people at rates that just about covered their costs, as well as local hotels, bed and breakfasts and holiday rental accommodation.

“With our expansion the amount of beds we need has increased and is now about 6,500 bed nights per annum and still rising.

“Simultaneously, as the property boom in Aldeburgh has accelerated, the amount of suitable and affordable accommodation has decreased, creating a real headache.

“The changes in Aldeburgh have created a situation where we have found it increasingly difficult to find the number of beds we need, and at the same time we have found costs spiralling upwards.

“Of course, one option would be to house artists in other local towns, but this would be a last resort because we place great value on the connection with Aldeburgh.”

Mr Reekie added: “We are looking forward to strengthening our presence in Aldeburgh, with artists staying in the town, using its facilities and contributing to the economy not just in the peak seasons but all-year round.”

About half the cost of buying Elizabeth Court will be recouped through savings but Aldeburgh Music needs to find the other 50%.

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