Olympia Owner Donates Thousands to Two Local Charities

Remainer John Hitchcox gives away funds paid to venue for Brexit Party rally

John Hitchcox, the multi-millionaire owner of Olympia London, has donated thousands of pounds to two local charities, The Alf Dubs Children's Fund and the Baron’s Court Project, after discovering the funds had been paid to the venue by the Brexit Party.

The Evening Standard reports that John, who is part of the consortium which took over Olympia in spring 2017, was mortified to discover last week that the venue had been booked by the Brexit Party for a political rally, due to be held there tonight.

John, chairman of Yoo Capital which owns the venue along with Deutsche Finance, is an ardent remainer with 'green social democrat' sensibilities, who says that his first instinct was to reject the fee of over £10,000 paid for the use of the West Hall, because, "The Brexit Party is as far away as possible from my own views."

However, on discovering that organisation for the event had gone 'too far to unwind' he decided instead to give the proceeds from the event to the two local charities.

Barons Court Project, based in Talgarth Road, supports people on low incomes who are vulnerable to mental ill health and/or homelessness.

The Alf Dubs' Children's Fun, set up with the support of Safe Passage seeks to carry forward the legacy of the Kindertransport for a new generation of child refugees.

Alf Dubs arrived in Britain on a train from Prague in 1938 when he was just six years old. He was one of 10,000 Jewish and other children rescued by the Kindertransport in the two years before the outbreak of WWII.

Now a member of the House of Lords and life-long advocate for refugees, Lord Alf Dubs is leading efforts to help a new generation of unaccompanied child refugees in Europe and on their arrival to the UK.

Olympia exhibition centre in Hammersmith Road was sold to the consortium made of up Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance by Earls Court developer Capco in the spring of 2017 for £296 million.

Olympia, which first opened its doors in 1886, is currently host to 1.6 million visitors at both trade and consumer shows and exhibitions, but the owners say they are hoping to transform it into a "year-round destination in its own right."

The planning application for the redevelopment of the 14 acre site envisages adding two new boutique hotels, co-working spaces and restaurants, including pop-ups and organic eateries, plus a four-screen arthouse cinema, a 1,000-seat performing arts space, a 1,500-seat theatre, performance and rehearsal space, a new jazz club-style restaurant and venue, shops, cafés, hotels and new public space including pedestrianised squares and a sky garden.

The historic façades on Olympia Way will be fully restored and spaces, such as the historic Pillar Hall, will be opened to the public.

The full application, which is also still open for comments from the public, can be found here.

A second application, also open for comments, for redevelopment of land and buildings east of Olympia Way, can be found here.

When the application was submitted last year, John Hitchcox said: "The masterplan represents a phenomenal opportunity to invest in the existing exhibition business, while opening Olympia London up to the whole community by providing new cultural facilities in the arts, music and entertainment.

"We are particularly delighted to be able to offer a new world-class theatre as part of the masterplan. If approved, it would be the first theatre of its kind built in London in generations, and would represent a significant investment in the arts."

For further details of the new plans, visit Olympia London Future and Olympia London Share the Future.

May 22, 2019