Re-Strictly Ballroom

What is it about the decision to give the "£10 million" Rivoli Ballroom listed status that Bill Mannix, its current owner, isn't happy about?

Yesterday, the News Shopper reported him as saying:

"I'm very angry, actually. There might be another bid, but this would just blight the whole thing."

The deals that listed status will jeopardise are the ones in which the new owner planned to destroy the form or function of the building, ie: precisely the kind of development that, only weeks ago, Bill told the newspapers he didn't want:

"I don't want the place knocked down for flats and houses. The council says it's a jewel in the crown and it really is just that."

Apparently, what really gets Bill's goat is that:

"When we needed help in the past English Heritage was nowhere to be seen. I approached them about 10 years ago for financial help to keep the place going when we had to put in disabled toilets and meet new regulations."

But English Heritage clarified:

"As far as financial assistance goes, before now the building would not have been listed so it would not have been eligible for funding."

In other words, there would potentially have been help on offer, had listed status been applied for. But then, that would have limited the opportunities for a quick sale at a later date.

Running a successful Ballroom is undoubtedly a difficult job and Bill may be right when he says that "ballroom dancing is dying out. The Rivoli was really well used but times and cultures have changed and now we have to import an audience to fill the place," but then again, maybe all's not lost.

What listed status does is give the Rivoli Ballroom a new chance to succeed - to show that a venue that's been used for everything from S Club videos to Agent Provocateur shoots and a White Stripes gig does have a future.

And that's why we have a planning system that balances private profit with public good.