Prince charles and Michael Oliver, the lord mayor of London, crossed swords last week over the redevelopment of a site in the City.
The dispute, which took place during a private meeting, was over the fate of a 4.2 ha area in Bishopsgate that is occupied by a Railtrack goods yard. The Corporation of London wants to redevelop the site for commercial uses – Foster and Partners is understood to be working on the design of a 30-storey tower – but is opposed by an alliance of heritage groups and local shopkeepers.

The struggle over the site has come to a head over proposals to list railway arches on it. The Prince, community groups and English Heritage back a listing whereas Oliver argues that this would undermine the extension of the East London Line and is therefore unacceptable.

Oliver is understood to have told the prince that it was essential for engineering reasons to demolish part of the Bishopsgate site. The City's top planning officer, Peter Rees, said in a report to the corporation that the extension could be killed off if the site was listed.

A source said: "The Corporation of London wanted to put its point to the Prince of Wales, to explain the importance of the proposed East London Line extension. There was an exchange of views." The prince is not believed to have altered his stance.

The corporation wanted to put its point to the Prince … There was an exchange of views.

Source close to the dispute

The mood at the meeting was cordial, but project sources argued that it would be difficult for the Prince and the lord mayor to find common ground.

One said: "Take what the lord mayor's intentions for that site are, and place those against what Prince Charles and the Prince's Foundation have said openly, and you can imagine the result."