Sunand Prasad calls for Prince of Wales to allow Chelsea Barracks scheme to proceed without 'undue influence'

Sunand Prasad, the president of the RIBA, has thrown his weight behind Richard Rogers in response to the Prince of Wales’ criticism of the design for Chelsea Barracks.

Prasad called on the prince to allow the luxury development to go through planning “without undue influence”, and suggested that any intervention outside the planning process could “compromise the democractic process”.

It emerged over the weekend that Prince Charles had written privately to the Emir of Qatar expressing his dissatisfaction with the plans, which are being developed by sovereign-backed real estate giant Qatari Diar. The prince recommended an alternative scheme for the site by neo-classicist Quinlan Terry.

Prasad said: “Any intervention that compromises the democratic process has the potential to diminish the ability of the clients, the designers, local community and local authorities to arrive at fully considered solutions without undue influence.”

The RIBA president concluded by addressing the prince directly: “I appeal to the Prince of Wales to allow the properly constituted and conducted planning process to take place unhindered.”

Prasad’s move is a bold one, coming just a week after the professional body announced that the prince would be giving the RIBA Trust’s annual lecture next month.

The prince’s comments about Chelsea Barracks is the latest in a long list of his pronouncements on modern architecture. He famously compared a proposed modernist extension to the National Gallery to a “monstrous carbuncle” in a 1984 speech, and returned to theme in February last year to refer to the “rash of carbuncles” being built in the City of London.