Suffolk

Aldeburgh Music to buy Snape Maltings

Image caption Aldeburgh Music is to build on its current offering at Snape Maltings

A popular tourist destination on the Suffolk coast is to become a "creative campus" that aims to match the vision of renowned composer Benjamin Britten.

Snape Maltings, a collection of retail units, galleries and residential flats, is being sold to Aldeburgh Music.

The charity organises the annual Aldeburgh Festival and runs the Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

Roger Wright, chief executive, said: "Owning the whole site opens a myriad of possibilities."

The purchase is being made with the help of £2m from Arts Council England and the "receipt of an individual donation".

The sale price has not been disclosed.

Benjamin Britten and Prudence Penn with a model of the Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 14th May 1970 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Benjamin Britten and Prudence Penn examine a model of Snape Maltings Concert Hall, in 1970
Barbara Hepworth sculpture at Snape Maltings
Image caption Snape Maltings overlooks vast marshland and features a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth
Snape Maltings Concert Hall
Image caption The concert hall hosted a series of events in 2013 to mark the centenary of Britten's birth

Mr Wright said Aldeburgh Music's plans for Snape Maltings would fulfil "Britten's vision for a creative campus with a new level of public engagements".

"I look forward to an open discussion about the way in which partnerships can develop the site's potential for audiences and the arts in general," he said.

Britten, who was born in Lowestoft, bought an old mill in Snape in 1937 after being left a legacy by his parents.

He rented the site's largest building after Snape Maltings was purchased by George Gooderham in 1965, and went on to create the Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

The site has been extensively renovated by the Gooderham family over the past 50 years.

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Benjamin Britten Image copyright Getty Images

Benjamin Britten

  • Benjamin Britten was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk in 1913
  • He entered the Royal College of Music in 1930
  • Began writing documentary music for the GPO film unit in 1935
  • Met tenor Peter Pears in 1937, beginning a lifelong creative partnership
  • Was a conscientious objector and spent time in the United States during part of World War Two
  • His celebrated works include Peter Grimes, War Requiem and The Turn of The Screw
  • He is buried in Aldeburgh alongside his partner, Pears

Johnny Gooderham, managing director and owner of Snape Maltings, said: "Aldeburgh Music is now the most natural custodian to take the Maltings forward.

"By combining the existing aspects of music, visual arts, food and drink, festivals and heritage, we have every confidence that Aldeburgh Music will deliver an enriched future for the site."

The sale is expected to be completed on 18 March.

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