White Lodge, Richmond Park

MQT on 2005-02-23
Session date: 
February 23, 2005
Question By: 
Tony Arbour
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Could the Mayor explain why he is refusing the Royal Ballet School application against the advice of his own Planning Advisors and other specialist advisors? What use do you for see for the White Lodge historic location if the Royal Ballet School is forced by you action to leave the site? Also, how much have you budgeted as the costs of an appeal on this application, which you will have to fund the GLA's costs?


Answer for White Lodge, Richmond Park

Answer for White Lodge, Richmond Park

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I accept my planning advisors- advice that the Royal Ballet School planning application involves unacceptable development on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) contrary to national, London plan and Richmond-upon-Thames Unitary Development Plan (UDP) policies. It is not an insignificant intrusion, but a 58% increase in the built footprint of the White Lodge facility. I do not accept that the applicant has demonstrated that very special circumstances exist that would outweigh the loss of MOL. I have, however, asked my planning advisors to see if the Royal Ballet School can bring forward measures that would counter this loss, such as a realistic and funded outreach programme to give children from all sections of London the opportunity to take up a place at this world-class institution. As indicated to the School and the council, I am willing to reconsider my decision if very special circumstances can be demonstrated. White Lodge is a magnificent building. I am sure there would be numerous enquiries from potential new users. It is not my responsibility, however, to suggest new uses. As to the costs of an appeal, I will not allow this consideration to affect my planning decision.