Dissenters make big noise over proposed London concert hall

Plans for a new GBP278m (€377.6) concert hall in London have been criticised by the leader of one of the city’s orchestras. Jonathan Rose, director of New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, has said that the proposed venue is too expensive, will take too long to build and is in the wrong location.

The new hall is to be built at current site of Museum of London, which would be relocated to Smithfield Market in east London. Preliminary planning and development work is now underway, with 2023 the estimated completion date. London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) would become the venue’s resident orchestra, just 200 metres away from their current home at Barbican Centre.

However, according to Rose the plans do not make sense. Speaking to The Guardian, he said that: ‘To have to wait eight years for the much-needed new concert hall is bad enough, but for that date to be dependent on such a necessarily complex process to remove the Museum of London is extremely high risk.’

Rose and fellow campaigners have instead proposed alternative sites, including one in Blackfriars, that they believe would be both cheaper and more accessible for audiences. However, these proposals have been rejected. Others, like cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, have said a new expensive hall is not needed and the money would be better spent on music education.

Simon Rattle has been at the centre of the debate, voicing his opinion that London’s existing halls have poor acoustics. Rattle will join LSO in 2017, but has recently confirmed that this is not conditional on a new hall being built. Mayor of London Boris Johnson and City of London Corporation have also backed the current plans.