The Council has lodged a new planning application for the opera’s temporary structures around Holland House. This communication is to inform you of the position FHP Trustees have taken on the subject.
Last year. A strong objection from the local community caused the Council to withdraw its application for the opera canopy to be in place all year round. Further objection to the subsequent application for a full eight months resulted in consent granted for the reduced period of 6½ months.
The past 6 months. FHP has been in dialogue with the Council to explore both whether the 6½ months can be reduced to our preferred 5 months and also what options exist for reducing the visual impact of the opera’s ancillary buildings. Discussions have been constructive and detailed. However, improvements to make a real difference will require significant capital investment. Consequently, RBKC have put on hold the changes discussed while they explore ways of ensuring a sound financial footing for the opera in future years that will justify the investment. This means that no significant changes to the ancillary buildings or the time the terrace is closed can take place in 2014.
The new planning application. It follows that the new planning application is for consent to the same footprint, style of buildings and closure time (10 March to 30 Sept.) as in 2013. Whilst this is disappointing in the short term for all concerned, FHP Trustees agree it makes sense to reduce the Council subsidy of OHP, which is a burden on the ratepayer.
FHP’s position on the new planning application. We do not propose to object to the Council’s planning application for OHP 2014. The proviso is that FHP is involved when discussions on improvements are continued and we will write to the planning officer to put this on record. Council officers and the Cabinet Member responsible for the arts have assured us of FHP’s continued involvement just as they have sought our view on many occasions during this year. Additionally English Heritage is monitoring the discussion in line with their published view on consideration for the setting of a Grade 1 listed building.
The Friends are not against the opera in itself, but wish to see its impact on the park significantly reduced over time.
Performance dates. While dates of the terrace closure remain unchanged, the Council has asked to alter the constraint imposed for 2013 that performances may not start prior to 31 May or continue after 31 August. This is to allow them a small window of opportunity to continue to accept other, appropriate events that will generate income. Strict terms will apply to prevent negative impact on the enjoyment of the Park and FHP will be consulted.
If you wish to see the planning application in detail, it can be found on the planning application search section of the RBKC website under planning reference PP/14/00062.
If you have questions you wish to address to The Trustees of FHP, please email either your Chairman: firstname.lastname@example.org, or your Membership Secretary: email@example.com