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Plans for prestigious Chelsea Barracks site in London approved

Qatari Diar Real Estate has finally had its plans to redevelop the Chelsea Barracks site in London approved. It can now go ahead with the £1 billion project on the former military site.

Westminster City Council has approved the outline planning application submitted in December through Qatari Diar's subsidiary Project Blue for the 12.8 acre site. The project includes a new integrates residential neighbourhood with landscaping in what will be London’s first new square for more than 50 years.

‘We are delighted that, after an exhaustive 21 month public consultation process that showed a high level of support for the master plan, Westminster City Council has decided to approve this application,’ said Mohammed bin Ali Al-Hedfa, group chief executive officer of Qatari Diar.

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. More than 100 trees will be planted and there will be public art display areas.

The project, one of the most prestigious and largest in London, has been dogged with problems. Qatari Diar, the real estate investment company owned by the Qatari royal family bought out Christian Candy’s CPC Group’s equity stake in the project. Then Qatari Diar had to make major revisions to the plans after Westminster City Council and various residents associations expressed grave concerns about the impact of the development.

These included reducing the height of a 13 storey tower block and scaling back the number of apartments as well as increasing the amount of publically accessible park space.

Then the Prince of Wales wrote to Qatari Diar expressing concerns about the development. He described it as too dense and too modern for such an historic site.

Then the plans were withdrawn at the last minute after it emerged that Westminster planning officials were not prepared to back it.

Now Alistair Moss, chairman of the Planning and City Development Committee for Westminster City, praised the company for revising the plans and undertaking considerable consultation with local people and the Prince. ‘Qatari Diar has 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,’ he said.