First Poundbury, now Bahrain: Should Prince Charles really be selling town planning to despots?

Deal worth £700,000 signed with regime guilty of using excessive forces against pro-democracy activists

For much of the world, Bahrain is notable for unpalatable reasons related to its repression of democracy protests. For the Prince of Wales, the Gulf state is of more interest – it is claimed – as a business opportunity for the charity set up to expound his ideas on town planning.

The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community has signed a £700,000 agreement with the Bahraini government to advise on a sustainable-housing development inspired by Charles’s Poundbury village in Dorset.

The deal, announced a week after the Prince, inset, hosted Bahrain’s Minister of Housing at Clarence House, was sharply criticised by campaigners who said it deflected attention from human-rights abuses in the Gulf state perpetuated during bloody protests for reform in 2011.

Three years ago, the Prince found himself in hot water after it emerged his personal lobbying of the Emir of Qatar about the proposed £3bn redevelopment of the Chelsea Barracks in central London led to a drastic revision of plans which the Prince had described as a “gigantic experiment with the very soul of our capital city”.

Clarence House said that Prince Charles had been “kept informed” of the signing of the Bahraini deal but underlined that the decision to enter into the agreement with the Bahraini Housing Minister, Basim al-Hamer, had been taken by staff at the £8m foundation, of which he is the president.

Clarence House said the Prince’s long-standing personal ties with the Bahraini royal family had not played a direct role in the negotiations for the agreement. Charles escorted Bahrain’s Crown Prince around Poundbury in 2007. According to the Court Circular, Charles also met Mr Al-Hamer in London on 26 April. Clarence House said the agreement had been signed prior to the meeting.

Campaigners said the cementing of ties with Bahrain by the foundation was inappropriate at a time when Bahrain is facing strong criticism for the slow pace of reforms following the brutal quashing of pro-democracy protests.

An independent inquiry found that Bahraini security forces used excessive force against peaceful protesters, some of whom were tortured, ill-treated and denied fair trials.

Graham Smith, the chief executive of Republic, which campaigns for the replacement of the monarchy, said: “Prince Charles should be ashamed. By orchestrating this immoral deal he is giving legitimacy to one of the world’s most repressive regimes. The Bahraini people need solidarity and support – not their own Poundbury.”

The agreement with the Prince’s Foundation, to last for 11 months, will be focused on proposals to develop a 5 sq km area along coastline in the south of Bahrain for up to 4,000 homes.

The Foundation underlined that the project was aimed at meeting the needs of communities from housing to infrastructure as well as passing on knowledge to Bahraini officials for future building schemes.

In a statement, the foundation, which last year raised £8.2m and spent £7.9m, said it was helping to meet a housing shortfall in Bahrain and part of a process of engagement with the country. It said: “This project aims to help all the communities that live in Bahrain and is in line with the objectives of the British Government.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
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

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game