New stage for sewage pumping station

PLANS to convert a Victorian Pumphouse at Aldeburgh into a new performance venue are on the cards.Aldeburgh Productions hopes to breathe new life into the building on the marshes, which holds about 50 people and was once the sewage pumping station for the town.

PLANS to convert a Victorian Pumphouse at Aldeburgh into a new performance venue are on the cards.

Aldeburgh Productions hopes to breathe new life into the building on the marshes, which holds about 50 people and was once the sewage pumping station for the town.

The venue has been used for the past four years for Aldeburgh Festival events, but up until now, tents and portable lavatories have had to be brought onto site because the building has no facilities or services other than electricity.

The Snape-based arts organisation is in talks with planners about the project, and there are ongoing discussions with the owner about its future.


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The idea is to create a new performance space and community venue. Aldeburgh Productions hopes to be able to use it for its increasing educational work, as well enabling the community to make use of it.

It has now applied for a £5,000 grant from Suffolk Coastal District Council towards a scheme to add an entrance area with facilities, which is expected to cost a six-figure sum.

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The proposed development is designed by Suffolk-based Sir Michael Hopkins, and Aldeburgh Productions say it will be in sympathy with the original building and sensitive to the local environment.

"It's very, very basic inside, but rather wonderful and we started using it four years ago and it's really caught on, and other people want to use it," said Aldeburgh Productions' chief executive Jonathan Reekie.

"The trouble with it at the moment is it has none of the facilities you need for public entertainments licences."

They had yet to finalise their plans and put in a planning application, he said. They hoped to have the work finished by the end of 2005.

The work is part of a major development project led by Aldeburgh Productions, which is to be funded by Arts Council Lottery.

An £8 million scheme to create a national centre of excellence for the arts, involving the development of several sites in Snape and Aldeburgh is in the pipeline.

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