Planning 2013

Holland House – a decision


At the RBKC Planning Committee meeting on 12 March 2013 the Committee made a decision about the Opera Holland Park (OHP) canopy and other temporary constructions for this year:

• Performances (opera or other, such as film) may not start prior to 31 May or continue after 31 August.
• Erection of the canopy etc. may not start prior to 13 March. The canopy and all materials must be off site and the site cleaned up by 30 September at the latest.
• OHP does have the right to bring materials onto the site prior to the agreed start of construction date; this has always been the case.

Nicholas Hopkins gave a masterly representation on behalf of The Friends. Michael Volpe, OHP's General Manager, presented his case as the applicant. Planning Committee members asked probing questions about logistical aspects of constructing and deconstructing the canopy and also asked if FHP would have generated such a large number of objections (198) had there not been a previous application for a year-round canopy.

The Planning Committee chairman summed up that the application for a full-year canopy had been harmful to OHP. He counselled all parties to develop a dialogue so that the need for mass objections to be dealt with through the planning process is averted in future.

The decision is now made; it is final for this year and we should accept it with dignity. We should feel gratified that the original application for 12 months has been reduced to 6½ months for the 2013 season. We ask that members accept this decision as final for this year and that there is no further case to make in relation to dates for the 2013 OHP season.

We have been concerned to learn that contractors and park staff were verbally abused and that anti-canopy notices were fly posted on Park notice boards. FHP does not condone this sort of behaviour and hopes our members were not implicated. It is not the way we need or wish to conduct ourselves.

Thank you to everyone who campaigned for a reduction in the time OHP occupies the very special Holland House site.

[13 March]

Holland House lives – but still needs your help!

We are delighted to tell you that in the face of considerable opposition and almost 300 letters of objection, Opera Holland Park (OHP) withdrew the planning application which would have allowed them to leave their enormous canopy in situ all the year round.

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.

For further information on The Friends' reasons for objecting to this application click here.

The planning application is open to public consultation until 22 February. If you feel as we do that, even if you are an opera lover, the time that the Park and access to the House is affected by OHP is simply too long, then please write to Planning and Borough Development, Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX quoting reference PP/13/00374.

Thank you all very much for your help and support.

[February 2013]