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Sat 13 Jun 2009 11:11 PM

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Prince Charles under fire from architects

UK’s Prince of Wales uses contacts with Qatar’s royal family to scupper building project in London.

Prince Charles has come under fire from UK architects and lawmakers for using his contacts with Qatar’s royal family to block a major building project in London.

Qatari Diar, owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, had commissioned architect Lord Rogers to design £3 billion worth of apartments near the River Thames at the site of the old Chelsea Barracks.

The prince however wrote to the chairman of Qatari Diar urging him to consider alternatives to the modern design drawn up by Lord Rogers and his architects. It is thought the prince wants a more traditional classical scheme.

On Friday, Qatari Diar withdrew its planning application for the scheme.

A former planning minister said the prince had set a "very dangerous precedent" by using his contacts with the Qatari Royal Family to intervene.

Labour MP Nick Raynsford meanwhile described Prince Charles' behaviour as "almost feudal".

"I do believe there is a very dangerous precedent here when the heir to the throne intervenes in a decision which should be taken through normal democratic processes,'' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"There is a very real constitutional issue when the heir to the throne becomes engaged in political controversy cutting across the normal democratic processes by which planning decisions should be taken in this country," he added.

The Chelsea Barracks site was sold by the UK's Ministry of Defence to Project Blue (Guernsey) Limited (PBGL) for £959 million in January 2008. PBGL is owned by Qatari Diar.

Qatari Diar hopes to submit an alternative planning application later this year.

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Jemad 11 years ago

It should be commended that someone cares what London looks like. Its disappointing to see a huge amount of money being spent in one of the worlds most historic and beautiful cities and the best that can be done is plastic domes, chrome, glass and steel monstrosities that do not fit in their environment. Thank you, your highness in a world crippled with political correctness your prepared to speak out - OUTSTANDING!!