2 December 2016: 11:02 am
Exclusive: concert hall planned for Wimbledon
Plans to build a 1,200-seat concert hall on the Morrisons car park site in Wimbledon town centre have been revealed.
The Wimbledon Concert Hall Trust is in discussions with town centre improvement organisation, Future Wimbledon, over the proposals, Future Merton can reveal. Grimshaw Architects is engaged with drawing up designs for the project.
Wimbledon International Music Festival director, Anthony Wilkinson, told Future Merton that an educational and outreach programme would also be developed, in partnership with Merton Music Foundation and the Philharmonia outreach and digital programmes.
The director explained that it would also offer local musical organisations – such as Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra, Merton Music Foundation Jazz and Brass Band, Wimbledon Light Opera Society, Wimbledon Choral Society, and the Wimbledon International Music Festival – somewhere to rehearse and perform.
Wilkinson said: “The hall will fill an important need. Wimbledon, Merton, and a whole swathe of London – south of the river and into Surrey – are without any good-size venue for making music.
"It would bring major economic advantages to Merton in terms of regeneration, jobs and revenue from people drawn to Wimbledon’s cultural offerings."
The Wimbledon Concert Hall would be the latest addition to the town’s cultural offer, joining the New Wimbledon Theatre, the Polka Theatre, the HMV-Curzon and Odeon cinemas, and the Wimbledon College of Arts.
A survey conducted by the Audience Agency has shown "great potential in terms of audiences for classical and a wider range of music genres, and support for such a venue".
The New World Symphony Hall in Miami (pictured) is the inspiration for the project. Wilkinson concluded: "A really important aspect of the Wimbledon Concert Hall is excellence, and superb acoustics. Anything second rate will neither stand the test of time, or compete in the market place."