Work starts early next year on a new £14 million practice centre for Garsington Opera. 

Buckinghamshire Council has approved planning permission for the new centre on the Wormsley Estate at Stokenchurch in the Chilterns, which the local community can use eight months of the year.

The internationally renowned opera company which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, has been based at the estate – home to the Getty family – since 2011.

However, a lack of practice space nearby has meant rehearsals have had to take place in unsuitable and distant locations.

Planners from the London office of Lichfields secured permission along with architects from Nichols Brown Webber.

 Nick Thompson, senior director at Lichfields, said: We knew from our previous work that a practice centre would require a compelling planning case, not least due to the location in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and adjacent to an ancient woodland.

 Garsington Opera reached out to the local community and the application was well supported by local schools, Chiltern Society, Buckinghamshire Cultural Partnership and Chilterns Conservation Board – many of whom complimented the highly attractive design of the building which draws on the style of the local Chilterns vernacular.”

Andy Nichols, architect for the scheme, said the new centre extends to nearly 4,000 sq m and comprises brick and flint, an oak structure and stained timber weatherboarding.

He added: The proposal involves replacing an unattractive agricultural building and silos with a high-quality, three-storey practice centre building.

The project incorporates existing cottages, landscaping and ecological enhancements. The site constraints meant a very thorough analysis of the clients brief and careful design to incorporate the key elements required by the opera company.”

The new centre is expected to be ready in 2023.

Image (top) shows the new practice centre. Image below shows the site now.

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