Reports that architect could be thrown off £1bn West London development apparently unfounded
Fears that Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners could be thrown off the Chelsea Barracks scheme this week appear to be unfounded, as it emerged the practice is still working on proposals for the scheme.
It is understood that developer Qatari Diar pledged its support for the Rogers team, which includes architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and Thomas Heatherwick during a project meeting last night.
The meeting was called at short notice following intense media speculation over the future of the scheme. Media reports this week suggested that the Rogers scheme was “dead in the water”, with the architect’s role on the project in doubt following a much-publicised intervention by Prince Charles.
But a source close to the Rogers team said this morning: “I can say with confidence that we are still working on the scheme.”
What is less clear is whether or not Qatari Diar now wants to fundamentally redesign the scheme. If, as media reports have suggested, a more “traditional character” is sought for the £1bn development’s architecture then a new planning application would need to be submitted.
But Westminster City Council confirmed this morning that the current application, due to go in front of the council’s planning committee on 18 June, has not been withdrawn.
Fresh amendments to the Chelsea Barracks scheme in planning were made just last week in response to consultation with local stakeholders. These included the reduction of a tower designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris on the Ebury Bridge Road from 13 to six storeys.
A source close to the project said it was extremely unlikely that the scheme would be withdrawn at this late stage. They said: “It would be commercial suicide for them to change their minds now. This application represents three years of hard work and heavy investment.”
A spokesperson for Project Blue (Guernsey), the JV led by Qatari Diar, said reports that last night’s meeting was a “summit meeting” to decide the future of the scheme were “complete fiction”. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners did not wish to comment.