Despite a recommendation from the planning inspector that the project should not go ahead, the secretary of state says the scheme is an 'inspiring initiative which has commanded a very considerable degree of enthusiasm on an international basis which could lead to the creation of a national asset', according to the DoE.
He says he believes that a new opera house could 'immediately become part of the international world of opera and that a very special sense of place is essential for this purpose, just as it is at Glyndebourne.'
The proposal was supported by the Royal Fine Arts Commission, Stratford-upon-Avon DC and Warwickshire CC as well as many distinguished figures in the field of opera, music and the arts.
The Doe release said:
'After careful consideration of the problem of the existing listed buildings and historic parklands, John Gummer has concluded that there is a satisfactory balance between the proposed and existing buildings in terms of scale and mass. He also believes that the impact of the proposed opera house has been greatly mitigated by the very high quality design of the Opera House and the attempts to fit it into the landscape.
'Other matters such as archaeological remains on the site and the economic benefits have also been carefully considered by the environment secretary but he has finally concluded that the overriding factors are the creation of an asset of national importance coupled with the very strong links with Compton Verney.'