Opera house in quandary over development funding

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The Independent Online
THE Royal Opera House's pounds 150m development plan is in jeopardy after a ruling by Westminster council in central London that the ROH must prove it can raise the money before receiving planning permission, writes David Lister.

This presents the opera house with a difficult situation. The council will not allow it to go ahead until it is convinced the ROH has the money. Potential donors will not give funds until they are convinced the scheme will go ahead and that public money will also be forthcoming through the national lottery.

Westminster's planning committee voted on Tuesday night to defer the design by Jeremy Dixon, an architect, for a seven- storey building in Covent Garden to house the Royal Ballet, with a square arcade of shops at ground level.

The committee decided the proposal was acceptable only as part of the whole redevelopment plan, which won consent in 1990; but the 1990 agreement barred the Royal Opera House from implementing the development 'until they are able to demonstrate to the council's satisfaction that they have sufficient funds to complete the scheme in its entirety'.