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Tuesday, 5 February 2013


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 , 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           


  1. The answer is to axe the Holland Park Opera completely and this would mean that there would not be a problem with the Canope; simple solution. Instead the council could spend tax payers money on something less elitist and more mundaine such as meals on wheels for the elderly and those who are really in need.

    1. I never thought I'd agree with a UKIP supporter, but very well said! Let the Council do what the Council should do.

  2. It is incredible that after the last outcry the idiots are back again for more stick. What does it take to get the message across? Enough is enough. No more noise and disturbance in the Park

  3. Has English Heritage been consulted about this?

  4. The Council is desperate. The business plan of OHP does not work. The only way to reduce the tax payer subsidy is to close it or increase the number of performances. This is the first of a number of Planning Applications that will flow in trying to extend the season

  5. 2011/12 season, English National Opera, loss £50,000/year
    2011/12 season, Opera Holland Park, loss £90,000/WEEK

    Hellooooo, wakey wakey!!

    1. STAGGERING comparison

      What is Cockell smoking?

  6. Yet another example of waste in the public sector when money is supposed to be tight for essential public services. What the council thinks it is doing is beyond me, supporting a second rate opera when clearly the market is well catered for in London i.e., Covent Garden and ENO. The third dip seems to be hitting everywhere except the office of Sir Merrick and his officers, all of whom should be ashamed of themselves. RBK&C seems to be run rather like Paris in 1789; "let them eat cake" and all that. This time I will settle for the dismissal of Sir Merrick; I might add that if I was an aspiring politician I would disassociate myself from Sir Merrick and the vulgar extravagences of Hornton Street.

  7. This is all very well - but who is going to challenge senior Tories in next year's Council elections? Residents' First opted out last time. UKIP is too much of a loony fringe party for the metropolis and its local candidates are a bit odd. We need strong independents with good community credentials. We are aware of one person - who else will step forward? And don't forget how well the Tories can manipulate the postal votes.

    1. The only effective challenge in all honesty would have to involve established residents who are independent and likely to be disilllusioned Tories. The chosen wards would have to be carefully chosen and not just based on how awful the sitting Tory Councillor is! Support could be forthcoming from parties who have an interest in a healthy democracy along with local issues; Taxpayers Alliance, Residents First and people who care about the Royal Borough.

    2. Residents First did not opt out of the last local election. After consulting with bodies such as the Tax Payers Alliance a decision was taken that a much more potent impact on the lapsed democracy in K&C would be to embrace the new Internet technology and launch a web site exposing the corrupt organisation in Hornton Street. And so the Hornet was created. The impact has been substantial. The Leaders personal abuse of Office has been curtailed (First Class flights to America and entertaining friends in foreign parts on the tax payer are now a thing of the past) and rotten Councillors have been exposed and booted out. Difficult issues like the funding of Opera Holland Park have been exposed to scrutiny and debate created. An awareness has been broadcast of vanity projects such as Exhibition Road where unbelievably, £30 million was spent importing pink Chinese granite to tart up a Kensington street. Success with local and national media has been a litmus test of the effectiveness of the Dame and her supporters. Slowly the Resident Associations and pressure groups like the Kensington Society and Friends of Holland Park are joining the movement of "Kensington and Chelsea for the residents.

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