Leiston Abbey Estate Strategy

Client: Pro Corda Trust
Location: Leiston, East Suffolk
Date: 2016 – ongoing

We were commissioned by the Pro Corda Trust to prepare an Estate Strategy for their spectacular site at Leiston Abbey in East Suffolk.  The purpose of the Strategy is to provide the Trust with a long-term plan for the Estate and a starting point for pursuing a range of capital projects.

The Pro Corda Trust was founded in 1969 and is now the UK’s leading chamber music school. It seeks ‘to provide for and conduct the education of young persons and others in the whole art, philosophy and theory of music, particularly chamber music.’

Pro Corda’s home at Leiston Abbey was founded in 1182 by Ranulf de Glanville and was in continuous use as a religious community until it was supressed by Henry VIII in 1537.  Thereafter the site was used for or in connection with farming and worship up until the 1970s.  Today the site comprises the extensive remains of a Medieval monastic house of the Premonstratensian order or ‘White Canons’, and a post-Medieval farmstead now largely occupied by Pro Corda.

Our role was to work closely Trustees and the Executive to identify how the performance of the site as a world-leading music school could be enhanced whilst improving public access to a highly significant heritage site parts of which are in the care of the English Heritage Trust.  We sought to re-programme the way that the site worked for  young people staying on the site attending the music school, for visitors to a popular calendar of concerts and events and for every-day visitors to the Abbey ruins.  Alongside this we reviewed and identified proposals for new buildings and spaces that would enhance the performance of the school and visitor attraction.  The Estate Strategy concluded with advice on potential sources of capital funding and practical next steps to achieve delivery.

Specific services and outputs:

  • Policy and strategy review
  • Opportunities and constraints analysis
  • Option development and masterplanning
  • Funding advice
  • Delivery and implementation advice.