RIBA president says he is 'dismayed' by Qatari Diar’s decision to withdraw planning application.

Sunand Prasad, president of the RIBA, has said that Qatari Diar’s withdrawal of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ designs for Chelsea Barracks does not represent a traditionalist victory in the so-called “style wars” prompted by the Prince of Wales.

In a statement, Prasad said: “I do not see this as a defeat for modern architecture; more a case of prince speaking unto prince”.

He said: “I am dismayed by the withdrawal of the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners designs for Chelsea Barracks, and the colossal waste of effort, goodwill and expense. This decision clearly has more to with external pressure than the merits of the scheme and that is a sad turn of events in a painstakingly conducted planning process.”

The “external pressure” Prasad refers to is the intervention of Prince Charles, who is believed to have written to Qatari royalty criticising the designs drawn up by Lord Rogers’ firm.

Prasad added: “I am all for the Prince of Wales setting out his principles as regards sustainability and an architecture that connects with nature, but for him to intervene in individual schemes going through the planning process is quite wrong."

Prasad’s comments come just weeks after the prince gave the RIBA Trust lecture. Project Blue (Guernsey), the Qatari Diar-led body developing the Chelsea Barracks site, announced its intention to withdraw the current planning application for the site on Friday.