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Farrell risks 'beheading' over Buckingham Palace overhaul

Sir Terry Farrell is set to risk the wrath of the monarch who knighted him earlier this year by proposing radical changes to 'the big solid lump' of Buckingham Palace.

Sir Terry has drawn up a series of design changes to the palace aimed at making the 'hostile statement' of a building more open to the citizens who pay for its upkeep.

In a television programme to be screened on January 2 - after the Queen's latest new year's honours at the very start of her Golden Jubilee year - Sir Terry will launch a broadside against the building's 'ugly and unfriendly' appearance, which he feels 'treats the people with contempt'.

Instead, his scheme (above) opens up the building's square behind the 'screen' which is its facade by punching new arches into its fabric. He attempts to create humanised 'people's spaces' in front, free of 'clutter', for major national exhibitions and events such as concerts and street parties. Sir Terry also seeks to take 'jackhammers and bulldozers' to the one-mile-long wall around the Queen's garden ('our garden'). And he looks to the regeneration of Somerset House in London as his model - 'a real place of delight' - in his effort to turn the Queen's residence into a more civic space.

But although Charles Jencks supports any changes to the 'pompous' structure - 'it's not the right symbol for the monarchy today' - and Simon Jenkins criticises the Palace too, Sir Terry's plans have met with harsh criticism over privacy from former Royal Fine Art Commission chief Lord St John of Fawsley.

'The terrible voyeurism of architects is to be deplored, ' said Lord St John. 'Architects have no sense of imagination and no sense of colourà Along come these architects and intellectuals who don't understand what people are like with these mad and crazy schemes. Well, away with them. In another age they would have been executed.'

The programme, called the The Palace Redesigned - complete with Sir Terry's implied 'beheading' for his ideas - will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 7.30pm on 2 January.

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