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Plans for Britten archive in north Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 08:37 06 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:48 06 July 2010

PLANS have been tabled for a major new multi-million pound development next door to the former home of one of Britain's greatest ever composers.

The Britten-Pears Foundation has handed an application to Suffolk Coastal District Council for a brand new archives centre at Home Reach, Golf Lane, Aldeburgh.

PLANS have been tabled for a major new multi-million pound development next door to the former home of one of Britain's greatest ever composers.

The Britten-Pears Foundation has handed an application to Suffolk Coastal District Council for a brand new archives centre at Home Reach, Golf Lane, Aldeburgh.

The organisation is based at nearby Red House - the former home of composer Benjamin Britten and tenor Peter Pears.

As well as housing an internationally significant archive - including almost all Britten's music manuscripts, 80,000 letters, 10,000 photos and even costumes - the centre, which is likely to cost around £3.4million, will also include reading rooms and offices.

If given the green light it is hoped the development will be up and running by 2013 as part of celebrations to mark Britten's centenary.

The building will be environmentally friendly - featuring thick walls to cut down on air conditioning - and archive material will be stored on the first floor to help protect against the risk of flooding in the future.

Britten - who was born in Lowestoft - was one of the foremost composers of the 20th century and developed with Pears a creative partnership which led to the founding of the English Opera Group and the Aldeburgh Festival .

Kevin Gosling, promotions manager at the Britten-Pears Foundation, said: “It is a very exciting development and a key project for the future of the organisation.

“Here at the Red House we have got what we think is the most comprehensive archive of any composer in the world.

“We do not have enough space for the material we have got already and we know that there is more out there that will come our way over the course of the next decade.

“As a result we have decided to bring all the collection under one roof in better storage conditions - at the moment it is scattered across several buildings.

“It means we can ensure this fascinating collection stays in mint condition well beyond Britten's 2013 centenary.”

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