Chelsea Barracks – London, Chelsea Barracks gets green light (again)
21 May 2104/ Harry Hanscomb
Westminster Council last night granted planning for the development of 74 luxury apartments across three blocks at Qatari Diar’s Chelsea Barracks.
The approval will mark the first construction of the site, mired in controversy and delays, since Qatari Diar bought the site for around £1bn seven years ago.
At that time well-known developer Christian Candy proposed a £3bn luxury scheme in partnership with Qatari Diar. But it was hit by a number of delays amid debate over the sensitivity of the new buildings to the historical site, which saw the initial proposal publicly criticised by HRH the Prince of Wales.
Following that intervention the developer put its planning application on hold. It then re-applied and gained consent in June 2011 for a new masterplan of 448 new homes on the 13 acres site, 123 of which were to be affordable as well as a £78m payment to the council for more affordable housing.
But 18 months later the Guardian newspaper reported that Qatari Diar had put those plans on hold, citing the state of the British economy, and uncertainty over its future path out of recession, as the reason.
Now the first bit of development at Chelsea Barracks is to go ahead again after Westminster Council gave the green light to start construction of three of the eight storey high blocks.
The latest plans have the backing of the London mayor Boris Johnson, who said he was “pleased that Westminster City Council has granted permission for the redevelopment of Chelsea Barracks”, adding “this scheme will create new homes and jobs for the capital.” Really? How does he know that they not just “buy-to-leave” properties?
Squire & Partners bags planning for Chelsea Barracks
21 May 2014 | By Iain Withers
Green light for first phase of controversy-dogged development
Squire & Partners has won detailed planning permission for the first phase of the redevelopment of Chelsea Barracks.
The approval comes seven years after Qatari Diar bought the high-profile central London site and six years after previous plans by Rogers Stirk Harbour were dropped after private lobbying by Prince Charles. His intervention – directly to the Qatari royal family – sparked uproar.
Westminster council last night approved three eight-storey buildings designed by Squire & Partners, housing 74 properties for private sale.
Construction is expected to start later this year.
Qatari Diar bought the site from the Ministry of Defence for nearly £1 billion in 2007 and first launched its plans the following year. But the developer was forced to rework its plans in 2009 after facing opposition, including from the Prince of Wales who called the scheme “a gigantic experiment with the very soul of our capital city”.
Qatari Diar won outline planning permission at the end of 2011 for 448 residential units, a sport centre, retail, health centre and other leisure uses.
Dixon Jones is working with Squires on the masterplanning.
A version of this story first appeared on Building <http://www.building.co.uk/news/green-light-for-chelsea-barracks-first-phase/5068658.article>