HC Deb 27 February 1989 vol 148 cc16-7
61. Mr. Fraser

To aks the Minister for the Arts whether he has discussed the redevelopment of the Royal Opera House with the chairmen of English Heritage and the Arts Council; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Luce

The redevelopment of the Royal Opera House is, at this stage, a matter for the Royal Opera House development board to discuss with interested parties.

Mr. Fraser

How much truth is there in The Guardian allegation that there will be a major departure from the plans originally put to English Heritage? Will the Government ensure that there are sufficient funds for redevelopment in the interests of Covent Garden, so that the board of the opera house does not have to turn to short-term commercialism to achieve a lasting monument in London?

Mr. Luce

To answer the hon. Gentleman's first point—if this is what he was referring to—the suggestion of a wholly new concept known as opera in Disneyland is quite false, and the Royal Opera House has no such concept in mind. As the hon. Gentleman knows, it has for some time been working on redevelopment proposals for the longer term—proposals devised for the 1990s—to modernise the institution, to bring it up to date and to ensure that it matches other great opera houses around the world. That will be done entirely with private sector development, and I wholly support the Royal Opera House's objectives in that direction.

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