Government pledges £5m to help regenerate Colston Hall

February 23, 2015

The £45m campaign to transform Bristol’s Colston Hall into a nationally important music venue has received a £5m boost from the Government.

The funding was pledged by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander during a visit to the iconic building.

The regeneration plans for the hall – due to start in its 150th year in 2017 and ready for opening in 2019 – include remodelling the main auditorium, redeveloping the second hall into a versatile venue, opening up the cellars for the first time in 100 years for educational and workshop space and restoring the frontage to its Victorian magnificence.

If all the funding is received, by 2020 Colston Hall, which is run by Bristol Music Trust, will be offering 5,000 free or affordably priced tickets a year, while the transformed hall will also nurture future musicians through its Creative, Enterprise and Music Education Centre.

Mr Alexander’s announcement follows £10m proposed by Bristol City Council.

Mr Alexander said: “Bristol is already one of the South West’s most vibrant cultural hubs, so it’s great news that it is finally on track to have the international standard concert venue that the region needs.

“London should not have the monopoly on arts and culture, which is why we’re providing £5m to support the refurbishment of Colston Hall right here in the South West. This money will not only bring music, but also jobs and investment to Bristol.”

Bristol Music Trust chief executive Louise Mitchell said: “This is great recognition of our transformation campaign following the national launch in Westminster. Thanks to the tireless support of our local MP, Stephen Williams, our national Government has recognised the importance of this hall and agreed to help fund our plans. Our ambition is nothing short of a total transformation to make this hall a 21st century international hub for entertainment, education and enterprise and this announcement of £5m is a fantastic step.

“Across the country, we are the last of the main concert halls to have undergone a major redevelopment and we are determined to ensure that our region doesn’t get left behind. We are very thankful that Danny Alexander has taken time to recognise the need to transform Colston Hall into a venue for the 21st Century, so that it provides for future generations across the country.”

Stephen Williams, Lib Dem MP for Bristol West and Minister for Communities, who invited Danny Alexander as part of the campaign to reach the Government, added: “I am delighted the Treasury has committed to providing £5 million of funding for the Colston Hall. I have been pressing this issue in government for several months and today’s announcement represents a big step forward for the ‘Thank You for the Music’ campaign.”

Pictured in Colston Hall’s cellars: Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, third from left, with Louise Mitchell, Councillor Simon Cook and MP Stephen Williams

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