The battle over the UK’s most expensive housing project continues as the CPC Group take on their partners on the project, Qatari Diar (a company controlled by the Qatari Royal Family) at the High Court. There has been much speculation and debate over Lord Rogers’ design for the Chelsea Barracks site over the past few years, culminating in the current court case in which Nick and Christian Candy (of CPC Group) are seeking to charge their partners in the project Qatari Diar, the sum of £81million.
Lord Grabiner, QC for CPC Group, argued that Prince Charles successfully convinced Qatari Diar to withdraw from the scheme that he so animatedly dislikes, by sending a letter expressing his thoughts on the design to the Qatari Royal Family suggesting they employ a more ‘classical architect’. Following reports from the QC for Qatari Diar, Joe Smouha, that ‘the [Candy] brothers tried to manoeuvre [Qatari Diar] into withdrawing the planning application, so that they could “ambush them with a claim of breach of contract”’, Lord Grabiner argued that Qatari Diar persuaded CPC to sell it its interest, promising an £81m deferred payment on planning permission being granted.
It is thought that the council were ready to approve Lord Rogers’ designs after slight alterations, when the planning application was withdrawn shortly after Prince Charles’ met with the Emir of Qatar. Joe Smouha argues that the company were entitled to end the contract without paying a penny. The hearing continues.