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Candys face Qatari royals in £81m High Court battle over Chelsea Barracks

An £81 million dispute between the Candy brothers and the Qatari royal family over the abandoned Chelsea Barracks project began at the High Court today.

The Qatari royal family’s investment company, Qatari Diar, is being sued by luxury property tycoons Nick and Christian Candy for a breach of contract.

The Candy brothers’ company, CPC Group, had planned to develop a 5.2 ha site in Chelsea, owned by Qatari Diar near Sloane Square, into a £3 billion mix of luxury flats and affordable housing.

But the planning application was dropped last June after Prince Charles wrote to the Emir of Qatar, voicing concerns over the modern Lord Rogers-designed residential scheme.

Lord Grabiner QC, representing CPC, told Mr Justice Vos the Prince of Wales had written to the Qatari prime minister, who is also chairman of Qatari Diar, saying that his “heart sank” when he saw Lord Roger’s design for the Chelsea Barracks site.

“He urged Sheik Hamad bin Jasim to reconsider the plan before it was too late and attached a scheme by a different, classical architect he preferred.

“Prince Charles and Lord Rogers had form in the way that they had previously crossed swords and Prince Charles’s opposition to modern architecture is notorious.”

Nick and Christian Candy are claiming that the Qatari company breached the terms of their contract and must now make a payment that was scheduled to be due when the scheme was approved by the planners.

But Qatari Diar denies it breached the contract, arguing that the scheme would have been rejected either by Westminster City Council or, if not, by London mayor Boris Johnson.