Plans for Kensington Palace mega-extension are revealed

As revealed by Sebastian Shakespeare in Saturday’s Daily Mail, the proposed enormous two-storey underground extension will be dug next to the 18th century Orangery to ‘free up the palace suites for the Royal Family’.

Kensington Palace mega-extension

The local council, Kensington and Chelsea, has restricted residential two-storey basements because of the disruption they create but officials will probably ‘make an exception’ for the royal development, documents show.

The 165ft-long mega-basement will make room at the palace, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are due to move full-time with their children this autumn after William ends his two-year pilot’s job with East Anglian Air Ambulance and takes on full-time royal duties.

The grade I-listed Orangery – described in the plans as an ‘elaborate greenhouse in the style of an elegant palace’ – was built in 1704 on the orders of Queen Anne who wanted to protect her citrus trees in winter. It is currently used as a restaurant for visitors to the palace grounds.

The extension at the back of the historic building would provide more than 1,500 sq. m of extra space over three floors. Two would be below ground with the one above built in buff brick with red brick detailing.

Some of the 100-staff working at the palace could move out of their offices and into the extension, which will also house a ceremonial dress collection.

The top basement floor will be home to staff offices, with light wells providing ‘light and air’.

The planning application says:

‘The addition of a basement storey is required to allow for the accommodation of administration which must necessarily be moved out of rooms leased from the Royal Household in Kensington Palace.’

The application has been put forward by Historic Royal Palaces, the charity which looks after the state apartments at the palace.

James Lavers, Business Development Manager at Build-Zone Insurance, said:

“ Basements, especially in built up urban areas, are complex constructions with many risks attached. It is important that you talk to an insurance professional that has experience in these constructions to get the correct insurances in place and protect against potential party wall issues with a Non Negligent (JCT 6.5.1) policy.”

A council decision on the proposal is expected by the end of next month.

Reference: Daily Mail