Bid withdrawn to remove Royal Albert Hall from charity register

A member of the hall has ended his attempt to deregister the charity after assurances over future changes to its constitution

Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall member who applied to the Charity Commission to have the charity removed from the register has withdrawn his case.

Richard Lyttelton contacted the commission in June claiming the hall’s trustees and members had made amendments to its constitution without the legal authority to do so.

He claimed putting this right would affect the number of tickets members could sell to events at the hall, which was built in 1871.

It emerged in 2012 that a small number of members who hold seats on 999-year leases were selling their unwanted tickets and, it was claimed, making up to £100,000 a year.

This prompted the commission to tell trustees they could be breaching its guidelines by allowing too great a benefit to private individuals.

The commission, however, refused Lyttelton’s bid to deregister the charity. He appealed to the charity tribunal but his lawyers issued a statement on Friday saying he had withdrawn his appeal.

The statement said he had received information demonstrating the commission was now taking a "robust approach" to the issues he had raised, and that this was likely to result in "significant reform".

It continued: "In particular, Mr Lyttelton understands that the commission has required the hall’s council to confirm by 30 September 2015 that it will apply for a charter scheme providing for a majority of non-seatholders on the council.

"Mr Lyttelton is reassured by these developments and has no wish to distract the commission from its engagement with the hall."

The Royal Albert Hall said in a statement that it was glad to see an end to "this somewhat absurd situation". It had threatened to sue Lyttelton for costs and damages if he did not withdraw his appeal and said it was pleased he had now "seen sense".

It added: "This issue has been a significant distraction, on which we have spent considerable resource and cost.

"Our commitment to providing significant public benefit remains as strong as ever – as does the hall’s record in delivering that public benefit. We are glad that this somewhat absurd situation is now behind us."

A spokesman for the commission said: "The commission remains involved in discussions with the Royal Albert Hall on a number of issues; we look forward to a continuing productive dialogue with the charity."

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