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Take two: Chelsea barracks wins planning

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Westminster City Council has approved plans by Dixon Jones, Squire and Partners and Kim Wilkie Associates to redevelop Chelsea Barracks in London

The 5.2 hectare masterplan has won the green light nearly two years after Richard Rogers’ scheme for the prime west London site was scrapped following intervention from the Prince of Wales.

A spokesman for developer Qatari Diar said: ‘We are pleased that, after an exhaustive public consultation process which showed a high level of support for the Masterplan, Westminster City Council has resolved to approve this application.

‘After public consultation lasting over 21 months, we believe we have achieved an excellent proposal for the development of this important and historic site in the heart of London.’

Designed in consultation with the Princes Foundation, the revised Chelsea Barracks vision is planned around a central avenue with traditionally-planned ‘London squares’. The project features 2 hectares of public space plus allotments.

The plans will now be referred to Mayor of London Boris Johnson for approval before detailed designs are submitted.

Councillor Alastair Moss, chairman of the council’s planning and city development committee, said: ‘The master plan has widespread support among local residents, community groups and businesses.

‘It will also provide much needed new affordable housing on site and hundreds more affordable units across the city through the substantial contribution made to our affordable housing fund.’

The development will include 123 affordable homes, with £78 million being contributed to the council’s affordable housing fund. A previous version of the planning application aimed to achieve 50 per cent on-site affordable housing.

Chelsea Barracks was sold by the Ministry of Defence to Qatari Diar in 2007.

In June 2009, developer Qatari Diar Real Estate withdrew its planning application for the prestigious site after the Prince wrote to the chairman, the prime minister of Qatar, saying that his ‘heart sank’ when he saw the design.

Rogers said that Charles’ determination to express his views on his design for the barracks in west London was ‘wrong’.

Following the withdrawal of the planning application, Qatari Diar’s then-partner the CPC group launched a High Court action to get an early payment of £68.5 million after the scheme’s collapse, but the legal bid failed.


Previous story (17.06.11)

Chelsea Barracks masterplan fails to meet 50 per cent social housing promise

The latest version of the Chelsea Barracks masterplan fails to meet pledges made last year that half the site’s homes would be affordable

When Dixon Jones, Squire and Partners and Kim Wilkie Associates revealed their new masterplan for the prime west London site in April last year, developer Qatari Diar said the project set aside half the Chelsea Barracks development in London for on-site affordable housing.

At the time, the proportion of on-site affordable housing was higher because an adjacent building called Moore House was part of the planning application. The building contained a large number of affordable dwellings but was dropped from the application following opposition from local residents.

Set to be approved by Westminster City Council, the latest version of the scheme features only 123 on-site affordable homes with the remainder made up for with a £78 million cash contribution to the borough’s social development arm.

Westminster Labour opposition leader Paul Dimoldenberg said: ‘We would be very concerned if Westminster Council were to take this large sum of money and hand it over to the secretive and unaccountable “Westminster Community Homes” organization for whom providing social rented housing for people on low incomes is not a priority.

‘Our preference is to maximize the on-site social housing to meet the demand for more homes for existing low income Pimlico residents living in overcrowded flats. On the other hand, £78 million is a lot of money and it could provide much new social housing across Westminster for low income residents in housing need.’

The scheme was recommended for planning consent earlier this month and is understood to be going before planning committee on Monday. If approved, the outline application will be referred to London mayor Boris Johnson for approval.

If awarded, the planning consent  would come almost two years after Richard Rogers’ controversial scheme for the site was withdrawn by developer Qatari Diar following intervention by the Prince of Wales.

Designed in consultation with the Princes Foundation, the new Chelsea Barracks vision is planned around a central avenue with traditionally-planned ‘London squares’. The project features 2 hectares of public space plus allotments.

A Grade II-listed Garrison Chapel on the site will be conserved and adapted to create for ‘community use’. The scheme will feature 448 residences in total.

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