Snape Maltings plans set to get go ahead

MAJOR plans to renovate crumbling buildings at Snape Maltings and create a prestigious 'cultural village' are likely to be given the green light by Suffolk Coastal district councillors.

By Sarah Chambers

MAJOR plans to renovate crumbling buildings at Snape Maltings and create a prestigious 'cultural village' are likely to be given the green light by Suffolk Coastal district councillors.

Planners are recommending that they should be given authority to approve the scheme, subject to various conditions.

A report set to go before the north area development control sub-committee, which meets on March 30, sets out ambitious proposals for the redundant maltings buildings, many of which are Grade II Listed but in serious decline and on the Buildings at Risk register.

The site already features the world-renowned Snape Maltings concert hall and is also home to a complex of shops with a pub and tearoom.

But only 40% of the entire maltings buildings are currently in use, and it is hoped many of the remaining buildings may be turned into a new music campus with studio and rehearsal space for Aldeburgh Productions, 65 homes, a 500sq m heritage centre for heritage and nature conservation organisations and shops and retail storage areas.

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The Arts Council for England has earmarked £4 million in capital funding for part of the project

It is hoped that the new development can build on the concert hall's international reputation and the regional success of the complex, which is already the most popular tourist destination in Suffolk, with half a million visitors a year.

A survey carried out on the buildings warns that the roofs of many of the buildings are in a dilapidated state and some ground floor areas are considered unstable and unsafe to enter.

Further deterioration could lead to the collapse of the main walls, and this could happen in the next five years or so if repairs aren't made, surveyors say.

The estimated cost of converting 19 of the buildings is around £21 million. It is also thought it will cost around £6.4 million to stabilise, waterproof and, where necessary, demolish existing buildings not being converted.

Snape Parish Council has welcomed the plans and Tunstall Parish Council reported that in general, members of the public present at their meeting thought the proposed development “commendable”.

However, Tunstall Parish Council has called for a traffic survey because of concerns about the additional traffic which would be generated on roads where there were already safety concerns.

Both parish councils called for affordable homes to form part of the complex.

English Nature and Suffolk Wildlife Trust have both objected to the application after expressing their concerns about the effect on bat populations at the site and the need for more studies to be carried out on the impact the development would have on them.

Measures to prevent any impact to the bat population are one of the conditions laid down by planners.

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