By Andy Sambidge
Westminster Council finally set to approve plans for redevelopment of Chelsea Barracks
Qatari Diar looks likely to finally win approval for its £3bn ($4.8bn) redevelopment of the Chelsea Barracks site.
Revised plans for the 13-acre site have been recommended for approval by planning officers and councillors at Westminster Council and a final decision is set to be made on Monday.
The breakthrough is set to come two years after a modernist scheme designed by Lord Rogers was withdrawn by Qatari Diar, the property investment arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, following an intervention by Prince Charles.
The Prince wrote to the Qatari prime minister saying the Roger plans "made my heart sink".
The new plans by architects Michael Squire and Dixon Jones are more in keeping with the existing styles of the area than the steel and glass vision of Lord Rogers.
The application is for up to 448 houses and flats, of which only 123 will be "affordable".
Qatari Diar, which is also shortlisted to own and manage the Olympic Village in London, is offering £78m towards the council's affordable housing fund.
Other proposals are for a sports centre, shops, health centre and "non-residential institution/leisure uses".
The site's Garrison Chapel, which was given a Grade II listing in March by the Culture Department, is designated for "community use".
According to council papers, Westminster officers have included a list of conditions to go with their recommendation including the provision of public art.
The establishment of an air quality monitoring station could also be required at a set-up.
The Qatari Diar application is what is known as "outline". This means that, once approved, detailed designs for the various buildings will still have to be approved.
The scale of the scheme means that Westminster will refer the application to the Mayor's Office. It is not thought that Boris Johnson will object.
Good move by Qatar. Lo, beware, should Qatar fall out of favor any time in the future, there is a big chance the assets would be frozen by the authorities. Hence it would be good idea to ensure agains such move by UK (or any western nation).
Congrats Qatar. Investing money is better than earning interest on it.