Snape Concert Hall future secured

THE future of the Snape Maltings Concert Hall has been safeguarded by a 999-year lease awarded to Aldeburgh Productions.It has taken 18 months of detailed negotiation to reach the agreement and this important milestone is a further step towards a 2003 Arts Council England (ACE) initiative which designated Aldeburgh as one of three national centres of musical excellence.

By Richard Smith

THE future of the Snape Maltings Concert Hall has been safeguarded by a 999-year lease awarded to Aldeburgh Productions.

It has taken 18 months of detailed negotiation to reach the agreement and this important milestone is a further step towards a 2003 Arts Council England (ACE) initiative which designated Aldeburgh as one of three national centres of musical excellence.

The purchase of the lease on the concert hall and adjacent buildings has been made possible through a £1.5million donation from the Britten-Pears Foundation.


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The total cost, including the purchase of the lease and conversion of redundant buildings, is £12m. Individuals pledged £1.5m, the Foundation for Sport and the Arts and the county council both gave £250,000, the Jerwood Foundation contributed £500,000, the East of England Development Agency £1.25m and £4m came from ACE. There was also support from the district council.

The redundant buildings that form part of the purchase will be converted into a series of rehearsal facilities and work spaces, enabling Aldeburgh Productions to expand its artist development work through the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme and, in particular, the Aldeburgh Residencies, launched in 2003.

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There is still around £3m to be raised, however building work will start early next year and take two years.

The lease deal has been completed between Aldeburgh Productions and the Gooderham family who have owned the site since the early 1960s. The concert hall was converted in 1967.

This project forms part of a wider re-development of the Snape Maltings site, which involves about 65 new residential properties and new retail space by George Gooderham Ltd.

Jonathan Reekie, chief executive of Aldeburgh Productions, said: “Britten and Pears had a vision to own their concert hall and develop a whole complex of facilities for musicians.

“35 years after they wrote a master plan setting out their vision for Snape Maltings, it looks set to come to fruition.”

Sir Robert Carnwath, chairman of the Britten-Pears Foundation, and Colin Matthews, chairman of the Britten Estate Ltd, said: “Our founders would have been very excited at this historic opportunity to secure the future of Snape Maltings Concert Hall and to develop the dream they had of this unique site when they first acquired it.

“We are, therefore, very happy to make this substantial contribution to ensure that Snape Maltings is a major centre of music making and artistic development in perpetuity.''

The comprehensive redevelopment of the former industrial site will enhance the reputation of Snape Maltings as a leading tourist attraction in East Anglia and create a number of new jobs.

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