Royal Ballet School, in Richmond Park, could host weddings as part of £1m survival plan

Majestic: The Royal Ballet School's White Lodge, in Richmond Park, is a grade I listed building

Majestic: The Royal Ballet School's White Lodge, in Richmond Park, is a grade I listed building

First published in News by

Party-pooping objectors could scupper the Royal Ballet School’s £1m survival plan.

The Richmond Park school has applied for permission to host parties and weddings in its Georgian building, but the Friends of Richmond Park group has objected.

The prestigious school has asked Richmond Council for a licence to serve alcohol and play live music at White Lodge, and host pre-booked dinners, receptions and private events such as weddings at the grade I listed building.

But the Friends of Richmond Park wrote a letter objecting to the proposal last month, concerned about potential noise and light pollution.

The friends group said: “Having regard to the status of the park as a site of special scientific interest and a national nature reserve, we believe that no proper analysis has been made by the applicant of the potential effects on the surrounding area of the events specified in the application or of the hours during which it is proposed that they be carried on.

“Those potential effects – including noise and light pollution – can properly be regarded as constituting a public nuisance and therefore as contravening one of the four statutory licensing objectives.”

The group spoke to the ballet school on July 20 to discuss its concerns and hoped to reach an agreement.

The council’s licensing sub-committee is due to consider the application today, Friday, August 17.

The internationally-renowned school trains and educates top classical ballet dancers for the Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Royal Ballet and other dance companies around the world.

A spokesman for the Royal Ballet School said it needed to raise £1m in the next three years just to survive, after the Department for Education froze its funding.

He said: “We would have a handful of largish events that are appropriate to be associated with the school and take into consideration the local community. We know the park needs to be protected and wouldn’t do anything that would harm the park or upset residents.”

John McGann, a licensing officer at Richmond police, has asked the council to impose a list of conditions if it grants the application.

He said the school should install CCTV cameras to film areas including the entrance, exit and bars.

The officer also wanted it to use stewards or security staff when necessary for events and keep a record all incidents where it refuses to serve alcohol to someone.

The ballet school should also not be allowed to host 18th birthday parties, he added.

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