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Hawksmoor church wins lion's share of arts grants

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The Arts Council has awarded more than £3.5 million to a Hawksmoor church conversion in its latest round of grants.

The biggest single award from the £9.8 million total went to the Grade I-listed church in Islington. Levitt Bernstein is working on the design to convert the derelict St Luke's Old Street church into an education centre for the London Symphony Orchestra.

The four walls and tower mask a gutted interior which will be turned into recording and rehearsal spaces, an auditorium and cafe. Construction costs are around £7 million, and the 18-month building programme is due to start within a year. A spokesman for Levitt Bernstein said: 'The brief from English Heritage was to restore the outside but produce a modern interior.'

Other winners in the lottery handout included £1 million to Lancaster City Council for public art in Morecambe as part of a regeneration of the seafront and promenade.

The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon was also awarded £830,000, to replace a box office and telephone-booking system, and new technical gear. A spokesman said that a decision on funding for its new theatre, by Erick van Egeraat, would be made in the new year.

Wordsworth archive rejected by Lake District planners

A William Wordsworth archive in the Lake District has been refused planning consent, but the designer is to appeal.

Benson + Forsyth's scheme for the Wordsworth Trust was rejected by Lake District National Park planners because it was deemed too large and out of scale. The £1.7 million, three-storey archive building, which is made of stone and has a slate roof and rendered circular tower, would have risen to eaves level of the museum next door.

The architect and trust, however, said 640m2 was needed for reading rooms, offices, storage and repair of documents. They are to appeal to the detr, which will have the final say. The appeal is expected in around two months.

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