The Royal Ballet School withdraws White Lodge party application at 11th hour
The Royal Ballet School has withdrawn a licensing application the day before a meeting to discuss it, due to strong opposition from residents and park groups.
Many concerned groups claimed they were not made aware of the application to hold events at White Lodge, in Richmond Park, which was due to be heard by Richmond Council on Tuesday, September 25.
The groups opposing the application included the Friends of Richmond Park, Richmond Park Wildlife Group, Richmond Society, the Safer Parks Panel, Royal Parks and various residents and users of the park.
An email from the ballet school’s lawyers said: “After very careful consideration our clients, the Royal Ballet School, have decided to withdraw their application for a new premises licence.
“It is hoped that they will re-submit their application in the near future. Their actions are done with the best of intentions and so that they can work in partnership with their neighbours – particularly the Friends of Richmond Park. In the circumstances we would be very grateful if Tuesday’s hearing be vacated.”
Chairman of the Friends of Richmond Park, Ron Crompton, said the allowance of events at White Lodge could disturb wildlife.
He said a particular example of this was during the Range Rover launch on September 6, where there was loud music and a number of celebrity visitors – including Zara Phillips and Victoria Pendleton.
Mr Crompton said: “This is not the kind of venue for this type of events. The licence was open, so events could have been any size and until 1am in the morning.
“We would prefer that events are much smaller. We have no objection to small dinners and performances by the ballet students themselves, providing that they’re indoors and they’re limited in size because of the disturbance to the wildlife.”
Three species of bat and 12 species rare and important species of birds nest within five metres of the site.
Mr Crompton added: “Now the friends and other people will sit down with the ballet school and hopefully agree on the conditions for a new licence.”