The Queen is locked in a planning battle to build a giant shed in the grounds of Windsor Castle to store priceless art that must be moved from Buckingham Palace during its £369million refurbishment, it was revealed today.
The 23,000ft building would house many of Her Majesty’s paintings, porcelain, tapestries and furniture and would stand within a walled garden close to Frogmore Cottage, where Prince Harry lives with his wife Meghan and son Archie.
But there is a row brewing after planning chiefs at Windsor and Maidenhead Council warned the storage plot could cause flooding and could blight the landscape because of a lack of trees in the area.
Officials are threatening to block the plans unless the Queen’s staff set out how rainwater would be drained from the site which could cause flooding.
The Queen (pictured yesterday) wants to store her priceless artwork close to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Windsor cottage but the local council are unhappy with the plans
The plans show the Queen wants to build this 23,000ft green building to store her art collection while Buckingham Palace is refurbished – but the local council isn’t happy
The new building for artwork would sit in the outer reaches of Windsor, in a walled garden which was probably built during Queen Victoria’s reign
The conundrum over where to store the Royal Collection for five years when it is moved from Buckingham Palace while a £369million refurbishment is carried out has troubled officials.
Many of the precious items such as works by Rembrandt, Canaletto, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo will be moved to other royal buildings or museums but the rest will need to be stored away.
Such is the poor state of Buckingham Palace staff have had to catch rainwater in buckets to protect works of art in the Queen’s Gallery and the Picture Gallery. Chunks of masonry are also said to have fallen down close to priceless items.
The royals hope their Windsor storage centre would solve their problems but it appears to have hit a bump.
In an official objection, Remsha Mohammed-Remla, a flood risk management team leader, said: ‘We note that the application form states that surface water runoff will be drained to soakaways.
‘No further details are however provided for the proposed surface water drainage system.
‘Unless the applicant is to be given the opportunity to respond to the above comments, we recommend that this application be refused.’
Helen Leonard, from the council’s tree team, said that the royals should include more greenery in the area adding: ‘It is noted that over the decades the tree cover has been significantly eroded, leaving only a single intermittent line of cedar trees.
‘There is a notable absence of any trees from where Albert Road crosses the Battle Bourne, all the way round to the east and the boundary with the Farm Shop.
‘The applicant could consider restoring some of this tree cover, creating parkland features, fitting for the historic park and garden.
‘The trees may be complimentary to the current land use, which I’m informed is grazed. Trees provide shade.’
The building would stand for five years and would sit near Frogmore Cottage, where Harry, Meghan and Archie live and the Windsor Castle farm shop
The green building will be concealed by high brick walls and is classed as a ‘temporary structure’ required for five years while refurbishment work takes place at Buckingham Palace, the Royal Household said in planning documents.
The documents state: ‘Buckingham Palace is undergoing a major re-servicing contract. As a result, this site has been identified as a suitable area to use as a temporary storage space for items from Buckingham Palace.
‘A temporary structure will be required for five years.’
Buckingham Palace is undergoing a £369million refurbishment, the biggest since the Second World War, to renew its 33-year-old boilers, 100 miles of 60-year-old electrical cable and 20 miles of lead and cast iron pipework.
Among items from the Royal Collection moved include 18th-century porcelain pagodas and a late 18th-century vase with mounts, from Jingdezhen in China.
Also earmarked is a console table by Adam Weisweiler dated between 1787-90.
Officials warned there was a risk of a potential ‘catastrophic building failure’ if repairs were not carried out and former Prime Minister Theresa May agreed an increase in the Sovereign Grant to enable the refurbishment.
A spokesman for Buckingham Palace, when asked about relocating the prized artwork, said: ‘There are opportunities for loaning certain works of art, relocating some of the works of art to other parts of Buckingham Palace or other parts of the royal palaces estate.’
The art warehouse would sit within this disused walled garden in the grounds of Windsor Castle (pictured)
They added that aides were also looking for appropriate storage, ‘bearing in mind these are valuable works of art’.
The Royal Art Collection is the largest privately owned art collection in the world, comprised of one million objects, and is worth £10billion.
The Queen is the owner of 500,000 prints, 30,000 watercolours and drawings, 7,000 paintings. She also owns tapestries, ceramics, textiles, antique lace, cars and furniture – alongside manuscripts, sculptures and the Crown Jewels.
Last year, aides sought appropriate storage space for thousands of items in the Royal Collection, collected by the family over centuries.
The storage facility near Frogmore Cottage is understood to be their latest solution to the plan.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman, said: ‘The store is for items decanted from Buckingham Palace as part of the re-servicing Programme.’
He later added: ‘It is not unusual to receive requests from the local authority for further information on live planning applications, before a final version is considered.’