School sets dates for £15m concert hall project

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WORK on a new £15m concert hall and music school for the city is set to begin in 2015, it has been announced.

Architects have begun design work on the £9m hall, to include space for a full orchestra, at St Edward’s School, North Oxford.

And work is expected to begin on the music school in two years’ time. It is expected to take a year and work would then begin on the hall.

Warden Stephen Jones said the school wanted current work on its £4m boarding house to finish in September before taking a “rest”.

The music school would then open in September 2016 though no opening date has been fixed for the concert hall.

Mr Jones said: “It is an exciting plan and we would rather see it happen than not. Oxford has waited centuries for a concert hall.”

A planning application for the music school is scheduled for June.

The hall is planned for the site of the former Lemon Tree restaurant and neighbouring land currently used by Jack FM radio station.

Mr Jones said discussions with Oxford City Council, the planning authority, and Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, had been positive.

He said: “We have felt there were multiple solutions to issues like parking and both councils seemed to go along with that, at least in principle.

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“The drawings I have seen for the concert hall are just superb. It is a serious piece of building.”

Concert-goers could use public transport and parking but the school is exploring setting up its own park and ride, he said.

He hopes it will mirror the success of the North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, which is used by the school and community.

The school has launched a major fundraising drive to pay for the work.

It hopes the hall will be used by international orchestras as well as young musicians from Oxford University and Oxfordshire’s County Music Service.

He said: “The reason this scheme has any legs is because the concert hall is of value to the school.

“It doesn’t need to stand as a business in its own right but we are currently working out that business plan because we need to know how much of a market there is.

“It would have to pay enough of its way to be viable.”

He said: “We have started to get on side a few people for whom this project would make a difference and most of them have been very encouraged.”

Comments (2)

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8:02am Wed 20 Mar 13

Myron Blatz says...

So, instead of skateboard parks (already 'tres passe' and yesterday's 'naff-n-old-fash' for most streetwise savvy children and young people) which only a tiny minority of the people in Blackbird Leys will ever acually use, why can't Labour-led City Council build a classical music , theatre and opera facility on Blackbird Leys, to complement the demi-olympic swimming pool and projected new shopping mall ? After all, the largest Council estate in the City has more Council and other funding provision thrown at it than anywhere else, not to mention almost obscene public transport frequency in Oxford, at the expense of bus provision in most other parts of the City by that infamous duopoly of bus operators, StageBus!
So, instead of skateboard parks (already 'tres passe' and yesterday's 'naff-n-old-fash' for most streetwise savvy children and young people) which only a tiny minority of the people in Blackbird Leys will ever acually use, why can't Labour-led City Council build a classical music , theatre and opera facility on Blackbird Leys, to complement the demi-olympic swimming pool and projected new shopping mall ? After all, the largest Council estate in the City has more Council and other funding provision thrown at it than anywhere else, not to mention almost obscene public transport frequency in Oxford, at the expense of bus provision in most other parts of the City by that infamous duopoly of bus operators, StageBus! Myron Blatz

9:30am Wed 20 Mar 13

alu355 says...

You'll only ever see something like this built in North Oxford, does anyone in Blackbird Leys even know what Classical music is?
You'll only ever see something like this built in North Oxford, does anyone in Blackbird Leys even know what Classical music is? alu355

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