£3 billion Qatari Diar redevelopment of Chelsea Barracks put on hold as UK economy stalls

 

Prince Charles is unlikely to be best pleased. A £3 billion redevelopment in one of London’s swankiest postcodes which the heir to the throne lobbied ferociously to be built in his preferred architectural style has been placed on hold by its Qatari owners.

The Gulf state, whose subjects currently enjoy the world’s highest per capita income, has put the Chelsea Barracks project under review, citing “the prevailing economic environment” as a reason for re-considering when to press ahead with one of the capital’s more ill-starred building schemes.

It was reported tonight that Qatari Diar, the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund whose British assets range from Harrods and a chunk of the Olympic Village to an 80 per cent share of the Shard, may even consider selling the £1bn “super-prime” site that was once considered a jewel in the crown of its burgeoning property portfolio. The organisation had fought a long – and at times painfully public – battle to secure planning permission for the scheme of nearly 600 luxury pads and affordable homes, nicknamed the Gucci Ghetto, ever since it first disclosed plans for the 13-acre site by the architect Lord Rogers in 2009.

His glass and steel blueprint drew a dyspeptic response from Prince Charles, who wrote directly to the Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al Thani, complaining about the “Brutalist” proposals which he said amounted to a “gigantic experiment with the very soul of this city”.

The letter, which was made public in subsequent unrelated legal proceedings, was followed by a decision by Qatari Diar to jettison Lord Rogers’ design and draw up a more traditional – or as the Prince put it, “timeless”–  scheme which was eventually accepted by planners in late 2011.

But despite recent moves to refine the blueprints and prepare the dowdy former Ministry of Defence site to be re-born as a vision of sandstone mansions and parked Maseratis, the only sign of rapid growth at the barracks of late has been invasive shrubs breaking through the abandoned concrete.

A spokeswoman for Qatari Diar said: “The developer is currently refining its strategy for the development of this unique site to progress and realise its vision for this important part of London. It is taking advantage of the opportunity to review and respond to the context of the prevailing economic environment in preparing for the next stage of development.”

The fund declined to comment on claims that, as Britain teeters on the brink of a triple-dip recession, its ardour for putting its mark on an SW1 postcode had cooled to the extent that it might consider offers for the site.

The uber-wealthy hinterland of Chelsea has benefited from the same recession-busting demand from the international glitterati that has seen a 40 per cent rise in prices for homes costing £10m or more since 2009.

For the moment at least, Qatari Diar, which will not have greatly enjoyed finding itself on the wrong side of complaints from an alliance including the House of Windsor and Chelsea Pensioners, may be choosing to concentrate on other ongoing projects.

 

News
people
Sport
Newcastle players celebrate, Mario Balotelli scores, Alan Pardew and Brendan Rodgers
footballNewcastle vs Liverpool , Arsenal vs Burnley, Chelsea vs QPR and Everton vs Swansea
News
i100Amazing Amazon review bomb
Arts and Entertainment
The Spice Girls' feminism consisted of shouting 'girl power' and doing peace signs in latex catsuits
musicWhat is it? You know what you want it to be...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkFrom Mediterranean Tomato Tart to Raw Caramel Peanut Pie
News
Moss and Grimshaw arrive at the party
peopleKate Moss, Claudia Schiffer and Nick Grimshaw at Jonathan Ross's Halloween party
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
News
i100
Extras
Boys to men: there’s nothing wrong with traditional ‘manly’ things, until masculinity is used to exclude people
indybest13 best grooming essentials
Travel
travelPurrrfect jet comes to Europe
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch attends the London premiere of his new film The Imitation Game
people He's not as smart as his characters
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities