Eco-makeover of Grade-I listed South London palace to give home of the Archbishop of Canterbury solar panels

By Robert Firth - Local Democracy Reporter

28th Aug 2022 | Local News

Lambeth Palace. CREDIT: Lambeth Council planning documents
Lambeth Palace. CREDIT: Lambeth Council planning documents

The South London palace home to the Archbishop of Canterbury is set to be transformed by plans to fit solar panels on its roof.

Local government officials have waved through the Church of England's proposals to put panels on the roof of Grade-I Lambeth Palace as part of an eco-makeover. 

The £2 million refurbishment of the palace on the South Bank of the River Thames will see electric vehicle charging points fitted in the grounds. The plans will also see a rainwater harvesting system installed on the site, which has been the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury since the 12th century.

The solar panels, which will provide renewable energy for the palace, will be fitted on a section of the 19th century Blore building that was rebuilt following the Second World War. The panels will be hidden behind a low wall along the edge of the building and will not be visible from street level. 

Lambeth Council planning documents read: "The proposed solar panels to the Blore building would be contained to the flat roof rebuilt by Seeley and Paget and will not be visible above the parapet; they will cause no harm.

"The electric vehicle charging points are proposed within the parking forecourt close to the service yard away from the Blore building; they are largely discrete and away from the more highly sensitive areas of the palace."

The planned rain harvesting area will be located within a two-storey 1950s block that links the Blore building to an atrium. A total of four electric charging points will be installed in the main parking area of the site away from the palace's main entrances.

Historic England, a government body that looks after the country's old buildings, declined to comment on the Church of England's refurbishment plans. It advised Lambeth Council to "seek the views of your specialist conservation and archaeological advisers" in a letter dated August 1. Planning officers from the council approved the green makeover of the palace just over two weeks later on August 18. 

Grade-I listed Lambeth Palace, the earliest parts which date to the 13th century, is made up of an assortment of religious, ceremonial and residential buildings. Originally the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, it has been the principal residence of the Church of England's leader since 1660.

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