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Opera House won’t expand into pub next door… yet

Opera House won’t expand into pub next door… yet

Friday 20 January 2023

Opera House won’t expand into pub next door… yet

Friday 20 January 2023

It would “make sense” for the Opera House to expand into the neighbouring Gloster Vaults pub as it aims to improve its offering – but no moves have been made to purchase it just yet, according to the Economic Development Minister.

The idea of expansion was first raised in a £16,000 ‘options appraisal’ for the Opera House by the Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy, which authored the 2021 arts strategy.

It contained a series of uncosted proposals about the future relationship between the theatre and the government, including installing five resident arts companies, appointing an Executive Director on a salary of up to £100,000 and making the pub next door part of the theatre complex.

However, the latter was not a feature of the proposals for the £11.5m refurbishment of the Opera House released last Thursday.


Pictured: There are no plans to expand into the Gloster Vaults pub as part of the Opera House expansion.

Speaking after the announcement of the planning application, Deputy Morel said that although he was "open to the idea" and had spoken to the Opera House's retiring Chair, Pierre Horsfall, about it, there were currently no plans to try to acquire the property.

"From the perspective of the Opera House it makes a lot of sense but within the government programme and the competing priorities for government, I don't know whether that's something that would be achievable within this government or not. I've not discussed it with my political colleagues," he said.

As well as upgrading part of the Opera House with a modern glass façade, the planning application aims to address the string of health and safety issues - including deteriorating precast concrete floors in the structure adjoining the theatre which houses the café and dance studio – which have kept the Grade 2 Listed closed since lockdown.


Pictured: Proposed work on the Opera House Ticket Office and Dance Studio.

If the application is approved and the upgrades made, it is expected that the Opera House will reopen at the end of next year.

The Gloster Vaults is one of the Liberation Group’s partner pubs run by tenants or lessees as independent businesses. When approached by Express, Liberation Group confirmed that they had had no formal conversations with Government about a potential acquisition.


First look at £11.5m Opera House regeneration plan

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