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The Prince is piqued by the architect’s plan for Chelsea Barracks, the site of which was sold to a consortium including the Candy brothers and the Emir of Qatar in 2007 for £900m. Evidently eager to get back some of the money they shelled out, the group unveiled a 640-apartment development by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, featuring 14 high-density tower blocks. The proposal has already proved controversial, with objections from a residents group causing the developers to reduce the towers’ height and assure locals that it will not “overpower” its historic locale. Such promises are not enough for the Prince, though: according to the future postage-stamp model, the plan is unsympathetic to the area, and he is determined to prevent its construction.
While Charles’ 1984 attack on Rogers’ National Gallery proposal bequeathed us the “monstrous carbunkle”, this second asssault lacks such a memorable epithet (suggest your own in the comments). Instead, the Prince has taken an epistolary route to success, writing to the site’s owners and urging them to select another plan instead. It just so happens that one of the Prince’s favoured architects, the classically-minded Quinlan Jones, has sketched a rival proposal, and Charles has thrown his considerable royal rump behind that scheme.
Indeed, in his unofficial role of national architect, Charles has requested that the owners consult him in any future discussions over the site, surely a gross extension of his limited remit as, essentially, an amateurish dabbler. Having recently seen what Charles is capable of when doodling around on AutoCAD, the country as a whole should be concerned about what he’ll do when he finally gets the keys to Buck Palace.