New Kensington Palace plans not liked by design champion

Reworked plans for a new entrance for Kensington Palace by classicist John Simpson & Partners have been dismissed as “just a few steps above a garden shed”

The scheme, for Historic Royal Palaces, involves the construction of a free-standing decorative iron loggia intended to mark out a new entrance on the east side of the grade I listed palace. It is set to be considered by Kensington & Chelsea Council next week.

The original design was thrown out last year after being labeled “embarrassingly twee” by council design champion Daniel Moylan, who is urging the planning committee to reject its replacement.

Although planning officers and English Heritage support the new design, Moylan insists it would damage a building by Wren, modified by John Nash and Colen Campbell, without justification.

His objections have been backed by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Kensington Society and the Knightsbridge Association.

“If the last application was decoratively over-elaborate, this is just a few steps above a garden shed,” Moylan wrote in a statement.

“It is hard to think of any other European country being willing to contemplate a structure such as this in front of a historical palace.”

The latest design is for an open cast-iron loggia, 4m high and 8.7m wide, boasting “garden motifs”, a glass roof and a flush stone flag floor.

Director of conservation and learning at Historic Royal Palaces John Barnes said research by consultant Space Syntax had showed the loggia was needed.

“When we presented earlier proposals the committee felt it was too high and elaborate, so we have responded with a revised scheme,” he said. “Given the endorsement of planning officers, we are hopeful that the committee will agree.”

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