High Court Judge says Christian Candy's CPC Group has to wait till end of 2010 for trial, giving Qatari Diar time to submit new masterplan

Christian Candy’s CPC Group has lost the first round of the High Court fight with Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment over the £1bn Chelsea Barracks site.

Earlier today, Mr Justice Warren dismissed CPC’s call for a quick trial and ruled that the developer should make a payment £50,000 of legal costs to the Qataris.

Last week, Lord Grabiner QC, representing the Candy Brothers had argued that an early trial date should be set for March 2010, which would be before Qatari Diar had time to submit a new planning application.

The development company had earlier today announced the result of a competition for a new masterplan, won by a team of Dixon and Jones, Squire and Partners and Kim Wilkie Associates.

Mr Justice Warren’s ruling now gives the architectural team time to submit a masterplan that has a good chance of getting planning permission.

CPC on the other hand will now have to wait until the end of 2010 before it can get a trial – by which time an amended scheme could be in the hands of Westminster council.

The Candy Brother’s representative had stated last week that a new application could pose a breach of contract on top of the breaches it is already claiming.

Today though, Mr Justice Warren ruled that the declaration sought by the Candy’s was unlikely to lead to a resolution of the dispute and dismissed the application for a rapid trial and the possibility of an appeal.

CPC is alleging that by withdrawing a planning application for the Chelsea Barracks site on 12 June before Westminster council had made a decision, Qatari Diar breached its contract.

CPC alleges that the withdrawal of the plans was a result of a letter written by Prince Charles that criticised the proposed design.

The developer is seeking a payment of £68.5m from Qatari Diar or the re-application of the original plans. Qatari Diar rejects this and claims that mayor of London Boris Johnson had indicated that he would use his powers to reject the plans.