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Sunday, 7 July 2013


Scribe has made this interesting comment below.
He raises important issues...ones which need to be addressed by the leader. 
In times such as these we should not be squandering hard earned taxpayers' money on a total non essential. 
Opera Holland Park is not world class opera....but down the road Covent Garden and English National Opera are. 
It is madness and wrong to try to compete with these two world class institutions. 
If OHP was as good as it thinks it is it would be financially self sufficient...not rely on hard pressed taxpayers....

There are some big things that have been talked about forever because no one has any intention of doing anything about them. It is a game. For example, Holland Park Opera. The Opera Season for 2014 is already spoken for and paid for and there are full time Council staff in the company. If Cllr Paget-Brown has an ounce of Leadership in him he would resolve the scandal as follows:
(i) immediate notice given that there will be no more Council subsidy at the end of the 2014 season (ie all funding stops in August 2014
(ii) no further contracts to be signed with immediate effect that are underwritten by the Council
(iii) all Council facilities and services after August 2014 to be charged with fully built up costs (eg erection and dismantling of tent, storage of tent, etc)
(iv) Council staff given three months (ie October 2013) to decide whether they want to stay with the Opera - whatever its future - or be relocated to other Council work
(v) those who want to relocate to other Council work to be offered a position within six months ie April 2014. If they do not accept they are deemed to have resigned and given notice to the Council

This clarity would put the Friends and all others on notice who have been milking the system for years. They can test the market and find alternative funding or go out of business.

The only people who matter in all of this are residents. Those who attend the opera will not be short changed. They can attend Covent Garden or English National Opera instead. Local, wider range of operas, longer season and cheaper seats available


  1. Kensington Resident7 July 2013 at 23:21

    Not often that one sees such clarity of thought - Hornton Street should take note

  2. Sounds like an excellent "Leaders Primer". Paget-Brown should take more notice of resident contributions to his Administration. Its called democracy

  3. No question about it. We are not the Arts Council, we are a borough Council and our responsibilities are to the residents - and most particularly, in these difficult times, to those who need support.

    Opera-lovers will get their fix somewhere and it shouldn't be at the expense of Council services.

    1. Says it all.......

    2. This is the ONLY Civic Opera in the WHOLE country!

    3. What a nasty article. OHP brings money into the borough. I've been many times, it's not elitist and maybe should run on a lower subsidy but to compare with ROH "down the road" is absolutely absurd.

    4. Quite. OHP fulfills a completely different brief to the Royal Opera and English National Opera (both of which are closed for the season when OHP has its' run, in any case). Holland Park is the only London-based summer opera festival of note and is extremely highly regarded both for its' excellent quality and accessibility (£10 tickets, Pay-what-you-think-it's-worth schemes, opera for children, among other initiatives), both within the profession and by those who are frequent visitors.

  4. More than £5 million of Council Tax blown on OHP in the last 10 years. Every year the subsidy has increased to its current level of £1 million every year. For years the Cabinet has been "discussing" the idea of cutting subsidy. A ridiculous report was commissioned from underemployed Tott Brill after hopeless Cockell dreamed up the wheeze of turning the cash guzzler into a charity. The Council has employed dishonesty to hide the true scale of subsidy. For example the canopy has been stored "for free". Administration and ticketing provided "for free". Offices and ground rent made available "for free". Council staff costs made available "for free". Local Government pension arrangement provided "for free".

    Pull the other one Nick!

  5. The characteristic of this Council, whether it is consultation, protest by residents or broken promises, is "talk them to death so that they go away".

    The time has come for change

    1. Cllr Paget-BRown could at least acknowledge this and announce that he intends to change things. It does not require six months of thought, a year of discussion or meetings of the Cabinet for deep consideration and a "minute" to the effect that "we are an impressive Council".

      Get on with it Nick. Get real.

  6. A Working Party was set up last year by the Council after an Independent Board of local worthies was created to manage the new "Charity" and the Council announced that council tax subsidy would cease. The whole thing was supposed to be put to bed at the Council Meeting in April 2013 to agree the budget for the coming year. But surprise, surprise, no mention of Opera Holland Park. Everyone back peddling.

    Cllr Paget-Brown, Leader of K&C, the situation needs to be clarified. Please do something useful with your £500k per year PR Department and get the overpaid Fitzpatrick to make a Press Release. You promised more openness and transparency a few months ago when you were canvassing for votes to become Leader. Please keep your promises

  7. Time for the Council to start taking residents seriously

  8. Blakeman and Dent Coad have made this proposal in their Labour alternative budget for the last three years but the Tories have made it clear that they have no intention of pulling out of Holland Park Opera. The half-hearted attempt to float it off to an independent company failed simply because it is just too expensive to run without the Council subsidy - and there are no super-rich oligarchs willing to foot the bill instead. Still, now that the Kensal Crossrail station is off the agenda, they have a further £32 million of our annual council tax overpayments going spare

    1. Did Councillor Blakeman attend the Opening Night of the Holland Park Opera this year, as is her want?

    2. What you must understand about Cllr Blakeman is that while she enjoys the Opera, she ALWAYS pays full price for her tickets, and has done for years. She didn't go to the opening night this year, I hear, because she didn't want people to think she'd taken a £70 free ticket and didn't want to go around explaining herself all evening.

    3. Angry Resident9 July 2013 at 16:09

      This is more bad news. Cllr Paget-Brown is not "taking his time to work things out", he is just filibustering to continue with the scandalous use of tax payers money to subsidise the only Civic Opera in the United Kingdom. A Kensington Tory abomination. K&C Tories who need to get an outdoor opera up their back sides can go the Glyndebourne where they will get quality but they need to pay the market price. Or there is the equally delightful Garsington Opera just down the road (Junction 5 off the M40) only 40 minutes drive from Kensington. But please, no more sponging off council tax payers

    4. Its a £1 million a year scandal. It has been going on for so long (like much else in the rotten Borough) that PB should be given no more time to faff around. Just get on with it man and tell residents how you plan to stop the rot

  9. Kensingon Tory verging on UKIP9 July 2013 at 14:46

    The more I see and hear about Labour councillors the more impressed I become about their behaviour compared to the current Tory councillors. At a recent Planning Committee meeting the contrast in behaviour of the sitting councillors was a revelation. The Chairman, Cllr Warwick, was usually the first to vote! A small minded runt throwing around his weight and pretending to be important. Someone needs to educate the cockroach and tell him that a Chairman NEVER votes - he should coax the meeting to a just conclusion. And then there was Cllr Pascall - a devious cove if there ever was one. Only Cllr Dent Coade made an effort to understand the issues and vote impartially. It is sad how the long run of monopoly has corrupted the Tory Councillors


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