Quinlan Terry accuses Lord Rogers of using political influence in battle of aesthetics.

Controversy surrounding Quinlan Terry’s neo-classical plans for the new infirmary at the Chelsea Royal Hospital has reached new heights as the architect accused Lord Rogers of using his connections with New Labour to impede the project in an “ideological dispute.”

The office of the deputy prime minister is now considering whether to launch a public inquiry into the plans, which could take 18 months, after objections to Terry’s design from Lord Rogers, the Chelsea Society and others, despite the fact that it received unanimous cross-party approval from Kensington and Chelsea’s planning office.

The hospital was originally designed by Christopher Wren and opened in 1692. A new infirmary was added after the second world war. The new £20 million project was commissioned after legislation changes governing the bed-to-bathroom ratio for residents meant that the post-war extension had to be replaced. While the aesthetic debate between classical and modern architecture rumbles on, the pensioners who stay at the infirmary are being housed in temporary accommodation.