One of the historic Royal palaces, in the shape of Kensington Palace, is set for some major renovations ahead of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge making it their family home. It is been reported that officials from Historic Royal Palaces have made an application to Kensington and Chelsea Council for some major changes. This was fully expected but the planning application is controversial to say the least.
Planning application for Kensington Palace
At a time when the local council is looking to rein in the number of basement developments the Royal family have applied to build a two-storey basement under the grade 1 listed Orangery which is in the grounds of the Royal Palace. When you bear in mind the presence of Kensington Palace, and its surrounding buildings, this planning application will significantly increase the size of the property. It is believed that the 50 m long basement will add a further 1500 m² of extra room over three floors.
At a time when austerity is headline news across the UK, news that the expansion of Kensington Palace is required to support William, Kate and Prince Harry’s personal staff may not go down too well. While there is no doubt that the Royal group are taking on more prominent roles within the Royal family this harks back to the days of underground servants. There is also some concern within Kensington and Chelsea Council as to how this application should be treated.
Limiting the spread of mega basements
As we touched on above, Kensington and Chelsea Council, along with others in the UK, is trying to limit the spread of so-called mega basements. These renovations can add significant floor space to a property but are proving to be rather controversial. Under normal circumstances this application would probably be considered in great detail but what do you do when the Royal family comes knocking at your door?
There is speculation that the council planning office will be “encouraged” to make an exception for the Royal household. The council itself is unwilling, or unable, to discuss this matter in any detail prior to an official hearing. However, while some might hope the council would seriously consider rejecting the application what chance of that?
Kensington Palace is huge
When normal people talk about “apartments” we don’t normally expect them to have 22 rooms and two kitchens. That is the size of the “apartment” that William, Kate and their children will be moving into. They have been living at a Georgian property by the name of Anmer Hall but the move to Kensington Palace is believed to be linked to Prince George starting school. This will be a significant change of environment for the Royal couple and their family although the Royal palaces have more than enough space for privacy.
We can only guess the value of Kensington Palace with its huge “apartments” and significant grounds. It is interesting that under normal circumstances the planning application for a two-storey basement would probably be rejected or at best delayed. However, it is highly unlikely that any council official would want to stand in the way of the Royal family and the added profile they will bring to the area.