Prince Charles has 'veto' over major new developments, claims leading architect

Richard Rogers says developers now check with Prince before committing investment

The influence of the Prince of Wales over major construction projects has become so great that developers now seek prior approval from Clarence House before making any commitment, the leading architect Richard Rogers has claimed.

Lord Rogers of Riverside, who has previously clashed with Prince Charles over his modernist designs, believes that his nemesis now has an effective veto over any significant additions to the capital.

Developers must square projects with the heir to the throne first to avoid the financial risk of a major undertaking being scuppered by a direct intervention from the great opponent of architectural novelty, who has succeeded in blocking several building plans.

In a New Yorker magazine profile of Rogers, the architect reveals his delight at being invited to collaborate on a new central London development “likely to involve several hundred million dollars”.

The article claims that Rogers was “a little surprised to have been asked, given his troubled relationship with Prince Charles… According to Rogers, developers now tend to check in with the Prince before committing to any major construction.”

The architect called it “an amazing situation! But they’re into minimising risk - and Prince Charles is a risk.”

Rogers, 80, saw his proposed £3 billion redevelopment plan for Chelsea Barracks abandoned after a lobbying campaign by the Prince, who wrote to the Emir of Qatar complaining that the “brutalist” scheme for 552 glass and steel flats at the prime London site “made my heart sink”.

In 2011, the Qataris blocked Rogers’ plan and backed an alternative development, supported by the Prince, although the site remains a windswept wasteland with little progress made since Westminster Council granted planning permission for the development.

Lord Rogers accused the prince of “an abuse of power” and called his exercise of behind closed doors influence with the Qatari royal family “unconstitutional” behaviour.

Developers have sought to avoid incurring the Prince’s wrath ever since his notorious 1984 broadside against modernist architecture, in which he attacked a “monstrous carbuncle” planned for the National Gallery.

Architects given the Prince’s blessing for their incorporation of his favoured classical style would be attached to projects. Even when Charles did not succeed in getting a development dropped, his intervention could prompt expensive delays, sometimes for years.

Clarence House said that the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, the independent charity established by Charles “is often approached for advice and works with local authorities to encourage sustainable development built around people."

However Clarence House said it had no evidence that developers were directly seeking Charles’s approval for building projects. A spokesman for the Prince said: “Developers do not seek planning approval from the Prince of Wales as planning development approvals lie with local planning authorities. If developers choose to send the Prince of Wales information about upcoming developments that is up to them but the Prince does not, and cannot, grant planning permission."

The spokesman added: “The Prince does regularly receive letters from members of the public complaining about developments and planning decisions. The Prince has received this sort of feedback from the public for decades, which is why his interest in the built environment goes beyond individual developments and architectural style to encouraging a sense of community and pride of place and improving the quality of people's lives overall.”

Lord Rogers’s claim that the Prince’s pre-emptive approval is now mandatory for developers reflects wider concerns over the influence that Charles wields in public life.

It emerged this week that three members of the Prince of Wales’s staff were seconded to work fulltime in Whitehall. Labour MPs accused the Prince of using them to “advance his own private agenda.”

Previously, House of Commons records showed that six government departments sought the heir to the throne’s consent before proceeding with Bills on a wide range of issues including the London 2012 Olympics, gambling, road safety and even shipwrecks since 2005.

Prince Charles’s wrecking balls:

  • Describes plans for Peter Ahrends’ modernist new wing of the National Gallery as a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend” in 1984 speech. The wing was scrapped.
  • Called plans for skyscraper by German-born modernist Mies van der Rohe at One Poultry, London a “glass stump” which would “ruin” the skyline. Plans were replaced by a Sir James Stirling design which Charles said “looks rather like an old 1930s wireless.”
  • Claimed the Luftwaffe had done less damage to London than a Richard Rogers’s scheme designed for Paternoster Square, next to St Paul's Cathedral. The Rogers plan was dropped but the Prince failed to impose his own classical solution in 1996.
  • Warned Cardiff Bay redevelopment against replicating London’s Docklands where warehouses were “wantonly destroyed”. Plans for an opera house in the Wales Millennium Centre area by modernist Zaha Hadid were scrapped.
  • Calls 2003 Renzo Piano design for 1,000ft Shard of Glass “an enormous salt cellar” in a London Bridge Tower speech but doesn’t actively seek to prevent building of Europe’s tallest skyscraper.
Arts and Entertainment
music Malik left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week
Author J.K. Rowling attends photocall ahead of her reading from 'The Casual Vacancy' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 27, 2012 in London, England.
peopleNot the first time the author has defended Dumbledore's sexuality
‘The Late Late Show’ presenter James Corden is joined by Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks for his first night as host
Arts and Entertainment
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and Blackberry Wine, wrote a blog post attacking the app and questioning its apparent 'strong Christian bias'
Arts and Entertainment
Leading light: Sharma in London

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
Brooke Magnanti believes her reputation has been damaged by the claim
Arts and Entertainment
A large fire has broken out in London's historic Battersea Arts Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Orla Brady as Anne Meredith, MyAnna Buring as Elizabeth Quinn and Joanna Vanderham as Katherine McVitie in Banished
tvReview: Despite the gritty setting, this drama is as fluffy and soppy as a soap opera
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and co-director Richard Glatzer, standing, on the set during the filming of ‘Still Alice’ in New York
Arts and Entertainment
Great British Sewing Bee finalist Matt Chapple
tvReview: He wowed the judges with an avant garde dress
Arts and Entertainment
Driven to the edge: 'Top Gear' producer Oisin Tymon is said to have had a row with Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Nazi officer Matthias Schoenaerts embarks on an affair with married French woman Michelle Williams in 'Suite Francaise'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Prime movers: Caitriona Balfe (centre) and the cast of Outlander
Feasting with panthers: Keynes
Arts and Entertainment
Strung out: Mumford & Sons
Arts and Entertainment
Avant-garde: Bjork
Arts and Entertainment
Despite a decade of reform, prosecutions and convictions of rape has remained consistently low
arts + entsAcademic and author Joanna Bourke in warning to arts world
Arts and Entertainment
Electro Velvet, made up of Alex Larke and Bianca Nicholas, will represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
    Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

    Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

    A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
    Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

    Election 2015

    Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
    Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

    Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

    The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
    The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

    The US is getting frayed at the edges

    Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
    Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

    New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

    A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
    Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

    British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

    Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
    Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

    Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

    Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
    Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

    Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

    He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
    How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

    Celebrating 100 years of Leica

    A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world