A masterplan for the new Chelsea Barracks scheme has been presented to local residents by the site's developer, Qatari Diar.
For those long bored by the Barracks debacle, a recap: the original plan by Richard Rogers' firm for the £3 billion site in west London was kyboshed after an intervention by the Prince of Wales, who wrote a letter to the developer in which he deplored the scheme and pushed forward in its stead a design by his loyal factotum Quinlan Terry. The Royal rumble led to Qatari Diar abandoing the Rogers scheme.
The bucolic, curiously vignetted new image depicts a rheumy-eyed view of arcadian urban living, with genteel strips of low-rise flats and houses, shops, and community facilities, flanked by trees and dotted with public parks. In a stark change from the glass-and-steel towers favoured by Rogers, the tallest building on display in this undetailed plan doesn't exceed the height of the former Garrison Chapel. The architects involved (Dixon Jones, Squire & Partners, and landscaper Kim Wilkie) are painting in broad brushes here, tacitly avoiding the weighty discussions on materials and scale that are yet to come.
Opposition from local residents is expected to be less vociferous than the screeching wail that greeted the Rogers plan, which alienated the Sloane Square set but delighted many architects. Yet inevitably, all eyes will be on the opposable digit of the Royal heir as he decides whether to jut his thumb up or down.
Following a consultation period, the plan will be submitted to Westminster council later in the year.