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Twist and Turns for Royal Opera House North plans

The protracted saga surrounding the planned new outpost for the Royal Opera House (ROH) in Manchester has taken another twist

The Lowry arts centre (designed by James Stirling and Michael Wilford, pictured right) has said it doesn’t want it in the city.

Based-across Manchester from the ROH’s proposed new home in the Palace Theatre in Salford Quays, the theatre-cum-gallery said the scheme would cause ‘unacceptable damage’ to its business model and could scupper its own funding.

It would be a shame if the project was scrapped. Some lucky architect is in line to bag a £80 million project to revamp the listed theatre in Oxford Street.

And according to a perplexed Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council, the scheme is definitely a goer. He said: ‘[I am] disappointed with the Lowry’s remarks on the Royal Opera House proposal.

‘I find it difficult to understand, as whilst at a meeting yesterday with The Lowry Trustees where I thought we agreed a way forward, a statement was issued on the contrary. The meeting explored the mutual benefits and options to develop this exceptional opportunity in partnership.’

He added: ‘Furthermore, objective analysis does not support the Lowry’s conclusions and our recent, more detailed feasibility work with the Royal Opera House and the Arts Council has strengthened the project’s viability still further.’

But beware the Conservative party. In March this year the Tories highlighted their concerns about the funding and comunity support for the project.

There will undoubtedly be more twists (pirouettes on point) to come.

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