By Andy Sambidge
Property investment arm says it is committed to $4.8bn plan despite challenging economic conditions
Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company said on Wednesday it was "delighted" to finally win approval for its multi-billion dollar plan to redevelop Chelsea Barracks in London.
Westminster City Council approved on Monday night the outline planning application submitted in December through Qatari Diar's subsidiary Project Blue Ltd.
Mohammed bin Ali Al-Hedfa, group CEO of Qatari Diar, said: "We are delighted that, after an exhaustive 21-month public consultation process that showed a high level of support for the masterplan, Westminster City Council has decided to approve this application."
The 12.8 acre Chelsea Barracks site had been in military use and closed to the public for more than 150 years.
The Master plan will open up and reconnect it to the surrounding areas of Belgravia and Chelsea in a new integrated residential neighbourhood in a landscaped setting.
Houses and apartments will be combined with local convenience shops, restaurants, a multi-purpose community/cultural centre, a public sports and fitness facility and a medical centre, Qatari Diar said in a statement.
The landscaped areas will feature productive gardens, public art and more than 100 new trees set in some of London first new squares for more than a century.
Qatar's property investment firm added that the 21-month consultation process has included over 30 public events, with eight workshops and an open day attended by nearly 600 local people.
Nine newsletters have been produced and distributed to 5,000 local residents, interest groups and individuals.
Al-Hedfa added: "Qatari Diar has a long-term commitment to London and, in particular, to the redevelopment and management of this site, despite very challenging current economic conditions."
"We would like to thank all those individuals and groups who have contributed so much to the creation of this Master plan and its approval by Westminster City Council, particularly the local community. We look forward to working in partnership with both the council and the community to progress the development of Chelsea Barracks."
At Monday's planning meeting, Cllr Alistair Moss, chairman of the Planning and City Development Committee for Westminster City, said: "Qatari Diar have set a planning exemplar. They should be publicly praised for the consultation of local residents and other stakeholders—the proposed development is one we should all be proud of."