Council rejects Kensington Palace portico as ‘twee’

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Council rejects Kensington Palace portico as ‘twee’

Postby PVC King » Sat Aug 29, 2009 7:52 am

A crucial element of a £12 million redesign of Kensington Palace by one of the Prince of Wales’s favoured architects was thrown out by council executives last night.

Proposals to build a cast-iron portico on the eastern façade of the palace, the former home of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, were rejected after planning officers said that designs for a new entrance, or loggia, were over-elaborate and twee. It was designed by the classical architect John Simpson.

Despite the decision to hold back on the redesign of the entrance to the Palace, the rest of the £12 million project, which includes an educational centre and café, was approved by Kensington and Chelsea council.

Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that runs five royal palaces in London, dismissed the row over the loggia as insignificant. “It is obviously a very small part of the project,” a spokesman said. “Certain members of the committee were in favour of the loggia, but others were not, so it was not approved. We are just delighted that the wider scheme has been awarded.”

After yesterday’s planning committee meeting, a spokeswoman for Kensington and Chelsea council said: “The application will be approved if the applicant excludes the loggia element of the application.”

Earlier the Prince of Wales’s architecture charity, the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, had been accused of trying to influence planning decisions relating to the redesign.

Republic, the organisation that campaigns for an elected head of state, criticised the foundation for writing to the planning committee at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in support of the plans.

Last week the organisation lodged a complaint about the Prince’s Foundation, claiming that it had acted as a “political lobby group” for the heir to the throne in his personal tastes on other architectural projects.

Graham Smith, Republic’s campaign manager, said last night that Kensington Palace was another example of the charity doing Prince Charles’s bidding.

“Charities should be independent, charities should be free to take the decisions they feel they want to,” he said.

“One of the things we were complaining about is the charity is doing the bidding of Charles — this reinforces that.”

Clarence House denied that the Prince had any involvement in the foundation’s decision to make representations in favour of the Kensington Palace design. A spokeswoman said: “As four of the Prince’s charities are based at Kensington Palace, His Royal Highness has been shown the designs but the planning process is obviously up to the council and the local community.”

Hank Dittmar, chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation for the built Environment, said that the organisation “wrote in support of John Simpson’s design because we were familiar with it from our involvement with Historic Royal Palaces.

“There is nothing unusual about a charity commenting on a design, and in fact several other charities have commented on this application as well.

“To single out the Prince’s Foundation is tantamount to harassment.”

Simpson also created a building for Poundbury, the Prince’s model development in Dorset.

Daniel Moylan, Conservative deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for planning, said that the loggia at Kensington Palace was “decoratively over-elaborate and almost embarrassingly ‘twee’ and, although designed by a leading architect, one could easily imagine its being replicated one day in a garden furniture catalogue”.
After yesterday’s planning committee meeting, a spokeswoman for Kensington and Chelsea council said: “The application will be approved if the applicant excludes the loggia element of the application.”


Good to see that sense has prevailed
PVC King
 

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