Predictably, Michael 'Vulpine' Volpe, the taxpayer funded director of Holland Park Opera, has made a fresh assault on the charms of Holland Park.
Having been rebuffed last time around he has taken the advice of the Planning Department and returned to the fray with a demand his canopy remain in situ for EIGHT MONTHS of the year
Below is the call to arms from the Friends of Holland Park: it should not be ignored....
The success in having Opera Holland Park withdraw their outrageous planning application for a year round canopy is due to the very large number of individuals and organisations that wrote or emailed to object. Thank you all for your support.
However, OHP has put in a new application which is still damaging, this time for the canopy to be in place for eight months, 1 March to 31 October. The Friends of Holland Park Committee feel this is indulgent and excessive for an opera season that lasts just two months. We are not against the opera or the canopy in itself, but we urge you to take action to limit the period to a reasonable five months from mid April to mid September.
Our grounds for objecting are:
· Past planning applications have reflected the desirability of fast and efficient construction and striking of the opera canopy ‘to ensure sufficient periods for this heritage asset to be enjoyed withoutinterruption...’ In 2007 the plan was for the canopy to be in place from 16 April to 24 August. Timing has drifted over the years so that construction begins earlier and dismantling is later with contractors working at a leisurely pace, resulting in less and less time for appreciation of Holland House. English Heritage, in its publication ‘Temporary Structures in Historic Places’, indicates temporary structures should be removed and remedial works carried out promptly after the event.
There is no justification for extending contractors’ time by three months over that considered necessary in 2007.
· The English Heritage publication further advises that planning should minimise the visual impact on key views of a listed building. Holland House is Grade 1 listed, and of national importance, so deserves to be seen to best advantage for the majority of the year. The Council invested well in excess of £100,000 in conserving the Holland House frontage, landscaping the terrace and creating a wonderful, tranquil space for residents and visitors, which has been universally enjoyed and appreciated.
The proposed plan means the key view of Holland House and its terrace would be compromised for eight months of the year.
· Confirmed strategy and policies are in place to protect the open character of the site and its designation as an historic park, and the setting of the Grade 1 Listed building.
Extending the period would infringe policy and strategy agreements.
Please take urgent action – public consultation ends on 22 Feb 2013.
If you share our concern please take immediate action by stating your objection to the length of time applied for and ask that the canopy be in place only for the five months from mid April to mid September.
1. In an email to the RBKC planning department at firstname.lastname@example.org , reference planning application PP/13/00374.
2. In writing to Claire Shearing, Planning and Borough Development Department, RBKC, Ground Floor, Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX quoting reference PP/13/00374.
The trustees of The Friends of Holland Park www.thefriendsofhollandpark.