chelsea barracks protest
Protesters from the Chelsea Barracks Action Group hit out at developer Qatari Diar
Chelsea residents today chained themselves to railings outside the proposed Chelsea Barracks site in a protest against the actions of developer Qatari Diar and Westminster council.
Residents from the Chelsea Barracks Action Group said that the developer had broken its promise to show residents how the tallest 9-storey, 100 ft tower within the scheme would affect views of buildings in the surrounding area including Wren’s Royal Hospital.
Georgine Thorburn from the group told BD’s sister title Property Week that residents also felt that Westminster had failed to consult properly on the Dixon Jones, Squire & Partners and Kim Wilkie Associates-designed scheme ahead of next Monday evening’s planning meeting.
Thorburn added that she and fellow protestors were prepared to be arrested.
She said: “We are protesting at the broken promises of Qatari Diar to not display the height of the resi block, and whether they would create an eyesore over a classical part of London.”
She said the developer had promised to erect cranes to the height of the tallest buildings in order make the impact of the development clear.
“Westminster council has been entirely spineless in not forcing the developer to consult us properly on this.
“So instead of going to Ascot we’ve chained ourselves to the railings, because this is so important.
“Our MP Mark Field doesn’t give a damn, the mayor doesn’t give a damn. It’s very undemocratic.”
But a spokesman for Qatari Diar said it had been extremely thorough in consulting residents and successful in convincing them of the merits of the plan.
“The public consultation process, involving a wide range of representation from community groups and residents has been conducted over more than 21 months,” he said. “The resulting masterplan has drawn a high level of support from local and statutory stakeholders, and the outline planning application has been recommended for approval.
“The consultation process which began in August 2009 involved 32 public events, including nine public workshops, 36 one to one meetings with local residents, nine newsletters circulated to 6000 residents and 12 meetings of the Residents’ Liaison Group representing 7000 local people.
“We believe we have achieved an excellent proposal for the development of this important and historic site in the heart of London.”