Prince Charles was named in the High Court yesterday as being instrumental in the failure of Britain’s most expensive housing development.
Property developers, the Candy Brothers are claiming £81m for breach of contract after their partners Qatari Diar, withdrew a planning application for a Lord Rogers designed residential site.
The court heard that the Prince of Wales’s opposition to the project triggered the withdrawal of plans for the £3bn residential scheme at London’s Chelsea Barracks.
CPC, a development group run by luxury property tycoons Nick and Christian Candy, is suing Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment, a property company backed by the emirate of Qatar.
The pair had been planning to develop the former 12.8-acre Chelsea Barracks and in joint venture with Qatari Diar paid £959m for the pretigious site.
Several months later Qatari Diar bought out CPC’s stake and agreed to pay £81m later in deferred compensation.
Lord Grabiner QC, representing the brothers’ company CPC Group, told Mr Justice Vos that the Prince of Wales had written to the Qatari prime minister, who is also chairman of the Qatari Diar development company, saying that his “heart sank” when he saw Lord Roger’s design for the Chelsea Barracks site in London.
“He urged Sheik Hamad bin Jasim to reconsider the plan before it was too late and attached a scheme by a different, classical architect he preferred.
“Prince Charles and Lord Rogers had form in the way that they had previously crossed swords and Prince Charles’s opposition to modern architecture is notorious.”
Nick and Christian Candy are claiming that the Qatari company breached the terms of their contract and must now make a payment that was due when the scheme by Lord Rogers was approved by the planners.
He said that the planning authorities had given “positive indications” that Lord Roger’s scheme would get approval but Qatari Diar’s lack of commitment and the leaked thoughts of Charles may have “irretrievably blighted” the application.
The trial is set to last two weeks.