Report in Sunday Times reveals details of a letter written by Prince of Wales to Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim
The full extent of Prince Charles’s intervention to thwart plans to redevelop London’s Chelsea Barracks has been revealed.
A report in the Sunday Times says a letter written by the Prince of Wales speaks of his dismay at “brutalist” plans to redevelop the site into luxury flats and affordable housing.
The letter urged Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, the prime minister of Qatar and the chairman of Qatari Diar one of those behind the purchase of the site, to “reconsider” the plans before it was too late.
The Qataris and Christian Candy’s CPC Group bought the site for almost £1bn from the Ministry of Defence three years ago.
However, the prince took exception to the £3bn glass and steel multi-storey plan designed by Lord Rogers that the Candys planned to build on the site.
The brothers claim it was his interference that persuaded the Qataris to cancel the project.
The letter was sent in March last year. The prince said that “quite frankly my heart sank” when he saw the plans for Chelsea Barracks. He added that the site was of great importance and deserved something appropriate to mirror the 17th-century Royal Hospital, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, across the road.
The prince subsequently met the emir of Qatar and in June 2009 the scheme was dropped.
The letter is likely to be used in court proceedings later this year. Nick and Christian Candy, the property developers for the super-rich, are suing the rulers of Qatar over the collapse of the plans.
In another report in the Sunday Times, the Candy brothers are also poised to enter the bidding for the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane.
The hotel is currently owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is hoping to sell it for more than £500m. It is thought the Candy brothers are also understood to have shown interest in buying a serviced apartment block next door to the hotel and, with the hotel, would look to create a giant luxury residential scheme.