Richmond Council has stepped up its campaign to secure royal status for the borough. It’s no secret that leading Councillors are keen to add the ‘royal’ moniker to the borough’s name and to secure all the prestige and pageantry that goes with it. It would be a major coup for LBRuT if they can pull it off.
As part of its £2m ‘Project Royal’ campaign the Council is planning to splash the cash on a ‘Royalty Festival’ and street parties to celebrate the Borough’s connections with the monarchy. The festival will take place in Marble Hill Park in June at a time when many people will be holding street parties to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday. The Marble Hill event will feature a giant, free street party for anyone who wants to attend. Planning is already well underway and Council Leader Lord True, aka The Blue Baron, has gone on the record to say: “The 90th birthday of our monarch should be a glorious occasion for us all to get together and celebrate her reign and the service she has given to our nation. I am thrilled to be able to host an event in one of the Borough’s most beautiful open spaces and have been working closely with the Parks Department on the plans. The Parks team have already adopted some of my exciting ‘lawn art’ ideas for making the grounds look suitably regal. Furthermore, I and several other Councillors will be leading a royal parade by way of entertainment”.
In a parallel development, not only has the deadline for 90th Birthday street party applications been extended but El Brute has now announced that to help secure a favourable result in its ‘Royal Borough’ campaign it will now actually pay for residents to hold their own parties. The applications deadline has been pushed back to Friday 6 May and so there is still time to dry out those decorations from the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
The Queen (that’s Elizabeth II to you, kids) turns 90 on April 21st but her special milestone will be marked on her official birthday weekend, the 11th and 12th of June. The fully funded street parties can take place either on that weekend or the weekend of 18th and 19th June.
El Brute’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Pamela Fleming, said: “We would like these celebrations to be truly memorable for what is an historic and national event. We think that by paying for residents to hold their own parties we will be able to build a strong case for securing royal status for Richmond. All of our Councillors are backing this scheme and we believe that the normal residents will support it too”. She added, “It’s important to remember that even Twickenham will benefit from this initiative. For example, it will give the town the right to fly the Royal Standard from the roof of the new Riverside development. It’s also a way for hard pressed council taxpayers to get some of their own money back in the form of hospitality”.
A Council source told twickerati that Cllrs Fleming and True have recommended that residents on the Richmond side of the borough will be entitled to half a bottle of Champagne and a platter of canapes per head for their parties but that on the Twickenham side this ‘per head’ allocation will be translated into ten cans of Red Stripe and two packets of Monster Munch.
Here at twickerati HQ we’re not sure that this represents the best use of council tax funds but neither are we the sort to say no to a right royal knees up. So, will you be applying for your fun-focused funding? Or does the prospect of Marble Hill Park’s Royalty Festival turn you green at the gills?
[Update as at 1 April: LBRuT has just issued a press release stating that the plan has been shelved for the time being due to the backlash from the public. To be continued perhaps]