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Former goat shed planned for transformation into New Forest art venue

The Palais des Vaches venue in Exbury used to be a goat shed (Photo: stock image)
The Palais des Vaches venue in Exbury used to be a goat shed (Photo: stock image)

A BARN previously used to farm goats could be transformed into a permanent art gallery, under plans by a member of the wealthy de Rothschild family.

Nicholas de Rothschild, of the famous Exbury Gardens, wants permission to turn a set of former agricultural buildings off Inchmery Lane, Exbury, into a full-time gallery, function room and three artists’ residents.

The structures, known as Lower Exbury Barns, were once partly used by Mr de Rothschild for his goat farming hobby, said the application submitted to the national park authority.

Now they occasionally host short-term exhibitions of local artwork instead, under the venue name of Palais des Vaches.

The plan is to expand this activity by creating a trio of en suite bedrooms for artists to stay in and work on their pieces, organising shows and linking up with the Hampshire Open Galleries scheme.

The application said the change was needed due to the “success and increasing demand” for the space and the growing “recognition, reputation and status” of the artists.

It promised: "The proposed alterations to the building are minor in nature and there will be no significant intensification of activity at the site over and above the existing use of the building."

In the winter the space would host lunches during bird shoots, it said. If approved, the site would retain its 12 existing parking spaces. It was last fully used for farming in the 1950s/60s, the plan added.

As reported in the A&T, earlier this year the NPA refused the Exbury Estate’s bid for a new collection of ornamental trees west of Summer Lane, near the famous gardens, amid concern over its potential harm to the countryside.

The NPA is set to make a decision on the art gallery after the deadline for public comments on 3rd September.

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