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James

£13m new look for Royal Concert Hall

£13m new look for hall (© Evening Times)



Plans for a £13million extension to Glasgow Royal Concert Hall have taken a
step forward.


The 600 seat auditorium, which will be built on the venue’s goods yard, will
be the new home of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. At present the
orchestra is based at Henry Wood Hall in Claremont Street but it needs a
new rehearsal and performance space to allow it to develop.

Orchestra bosses investigated the cost of a purpose built venue but decided
the £30m price tag was too high. They have now worked with Glasgow Life,
which runs the Concert Hall, and come up with plans to build an extension
to the city centre visitor attraction. The only alternative was to find space in
the venue, which would have resulted in the loss of a couple of important
event areas.

Liz Cameron, the city council’s executive member for development and
regeneration, said in a report: “The proposals will allow the RSNO to relocate
its entire organisation, staff and musicians into the redeveloped Glasgow
Royal Concert Hall. With construction work largely contained within the
confines of the goods yard, this would be by far the least disruptive to the
operation of the Concert Hall.”

Economic and business consultants were commissioned to look at the extension
plan and prepare a detailed business case. Ms Cameron said: “Crucially, the
business case demonstrated a significant improvement to the quality of the
Concert Hall’s facilities, the potential for increased use of the building, improved
commercial capacity and long-term financial sustainability.”

The total cost of the work is estimated at around £13.5m with the Scottish
Government providing £7m and the city council £5m. The RSNO will be expected
to raise just over £1.5m with £750,000 of that coming from the sale of its
current premises. It is hoped building work will start after summer next year
and be finished in the first three months of 2014.

In November, the Scottish Government identified the redevelopment of the
Concert Hall as a priority. It agreed to give £413,000 towards the £710,000
cost of taking the development to the next level, which includes planning, building
warrant, surveys and professional fees.

The city council, which owns the Concert Hall, has now agreed to fund the
balance, meaning work can press ahead. Ms Cameron said: “In 1990, we
celebrated being the first UK city to win the accolade of European Capital
of Culture with the opening of the Concert Hall. Now, 21 years later, we are
helping the RSNO and the Concert Hall to continue to captivate audiences
for years to come.”

George Redmond, chairman of Glasgow Life, said: “We have been working
closely with the RSNO to achieve their long-held dream of moving to the
Concert Hall. I look forward to working with them to achieve their plans and
forge a stronger creative partnership between both organisations.”

RSNO chief executive Simon Woods said: “The RSNO’s long search for new
premises looks to be nearing conclusion as we focus on the collaborative benefits
of being resident at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Whilst we are not yet ready
to share artists impressions or drawings, what we know is that the possibilities
for artistic growth, for engaging with the community, and for a range of programmes
for young people, are tantalisingly near if this vision can be realised."



James H

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