Town could be centre for the arts

Kris Reeder
Kris Reeder

Ambitious plans to help make Banbury the centre of music and arts in north Oxfordshire have been revealed.

Kris Reeder is a professional musician from Middleton Cheney and also director of music at St Leonard’s Church in Middleton Road, Banbury.

Following a conversation with town and district councillor Sean Woodcock, Mr Reeder has been asked to write a report into arts provision in the area. His ideas include a £90 million multi-purpose international live music and arts venue and a £30 million purpose built Arts Academy or Free School.

The full report will be published early next year before being presented to both Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire District Council at the end of 2015. Mr Reeder said: “The town’s Rotary Clubs have been talking about arts provision in the area for a long time and the proposals I have suggested are quite radical.

“The Banbury and Bicester area could have something like an international concert venue similar to the LG Arena in Birmingham to help accommodate the area’s growth.

“We need to think about the town’s future and where it will be in 20 years.

“Other than the Mill Arts Centre there isn’t much else in the town to cater for arts provision.

“This is about music and the arts and Banbury could quite easily be a centre of provision between Birmingham and London.”

While a draft report was only made earlier this month, Mr Reeder said the thought of a state-of-the-art music or arts venue combined with the other developments already in the pipeline for Banbury could make the town a ‘phenomenal place to live in’. He also called on the local authorities to try to apply for grants from the Arts Council and other funding agencies, in particular the European Union and their development fund.

He said: “I think it is about time we had something for the cultural part of Banbury.

“It would be great to build an international arena for arts and performance somewhere along the M40 motorway, perhaps in the next ten years.

“I know Castle Quay Shopping Centre is being extended in the near future and that will be fantastic – but if you put all these ideas and developments together Banbury could be a phenomenal town to live in with a population of up to 80,000 people.

“There is plenty of money around for councils to apply for grants, so it would be great if they can work together to find ways of attracting money from different areas.”