Sources close to architect blame intervention by Prince Charles for decision

The Rogers team has been left “shell-shocked” by Qatari Diar’s decision to withdraw its planning application for Chelsea Barracks, according to sources.

It is understood that Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners was only informed of the application’s withdrawal at 9am this morning, just one hour before it was made public.

A source on the project team blamed Qatari Diar’s change of mind on the intervention of the Prince of Wales.

He said: “Qatari Diar was very sensitive to what the Prince thought of the scheme. I think he has a lot to answer for. We are confident we would have got planning permission next week if it hadn’t been for his intervention.”

Westminster Council’s planning report was highly complimentary of the scheme, even though it stopped short of recommending the scheme for approval. This led the designers to believe their proposals would be given the green light at the scheduled planning meeting on 18 June.

The source added: “The rug has been pulled from under us. After the positive planning report, we were confident of getting approval. This decision has left us shell-shocked.”

A spokeswoman for Prince Charles declined to comment on the suggestion the withdrawal was due to his intervention, as did a spokesman for Qatari Diar.

There was speculation this morning that the involvement of the Candy brothers on the development team Project Blue (Guernsey) Ltd would shortly come to an end.

A spokesperson for Project Blue (Guernsey) Ltd said that “as of today”, Candy & Candy was still responsible for marketing and management of the scheme. It is understood Rogers’ involvement on the scheme has come to an end.

In an official statement, Richard Rogers said: “After two-and-a-half years of extensive consultation with the local community and statutory consultees, and the publication of an exceptionally complimentary report yesterday on the Chelsea Barracks application from planning officers at Westminster City Council, it is extremely disappointing that this application has been withdrawn in response to Prince Charles’ views less than a week before the Council was due to consider it.”

Meanwhile, the decision left local campaigners against the scheme happy.

Georgine Thorburn, chair of the Chelsea Barracks Action Group said: “We are all over the moon. We’re the only group who has stood steadfast in the view that this design was not acceptable to this part of iconic London. It’s all thanks to the profile Prince Charles gave to the development, and his concern about the capital city. His intervention was a noble act."