Revamped concert venue nears completion

A REFURBISHMENT to convert one of Ipswich's most historic churches into a concert venue and heritage centre is nearing completion.

A REFURBISHMENT to convert one of Ipswich's most historic churches into a concert venue and heritage centre is nearing completion.

More than £750,000 has been spent on transforming St Peter's Church at the waterfront.

Ipswich Hospital Band will be based at the centre, while the facility will be open to dozens of other groups.

Today, project bosses said the development was on track to open by May 1.

Bernard Westren said: “It's really exciting now because the stage is going up and, after having seen it under scaffold for so long, it really looks quite grand.

“It's been a long haul - around six years from getting the initial go-ahead from the council and the Historic Churches Trust.”

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Its redevelopment has seen the installation of a stage and a 205-seat auditorium, as well as sound and lighting facilities which will be suitable to accommodate a range of performances.

As well as concerts, the church will also be available to host a range of artistic activities.

There will also be conservation work to the fabric of the building and a range of displays to tell the story of the church's history, which dates back to 1130.

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey refurbished the church in 1528 to serve as the chapel of his short-lived Cardinal College of St Mary and ten years later St Peter's because an ordinary parish church.

The building, situated on the fringes of the waterfront's regeneration area, will be open daily between 10am and 4pm.