Independent investigation: The Prince with a craving for paving

Tony Gosling tony at
Thu Dec 22 00:02:18 GMT 2011

This one posted specially for editor of 'The 
Land' Simon Fairlie who is a little 'starry-eyed' 
about the prince ever since his audience with Charles in the 1990s.

First Poundbury, now Port-au-Prince: the Prince with a craving for paving
Charles's ambitious housebuilding plans are not 
to everybody's tastes, Michael McCarthy discovers
Michael McCarthy   -    Wednesday 21 December 2011  -   Independent
It was a little-noticed planning decision, taken 
last week in the far west of Britain. But it 
marks a significant step in the onward march of 
what is becoming a development juggernaut – the 
property empire of the Prince of Wales. You may 
think the Prince's Duchy of Cornwall – his 
landed-estate-cum-business – bakes and sells 
biscuits and jam, and you're right. Duchy 
Originals are a top-seller at Waitrose.
But in partnership with another of the Prince's 
enterprises, his Foundation for the Built 
Environment, the Duchy also builds houses – 
thousands of them – and in the not-too-distant 
future the Prince's vision will influence building schemes abroad as well.
Last week's decision by Cornwall County Council 
allowed a new housing estate at Tregunnel Hill on 
the edge of Newquay, the seaside town known as Britain's surfing capital.
As the 174-home site will be built on the same 
principles as the Prince's development at 
Poundbury on the outskirts of Dorchester – 
traditional rural architecture styles combined 
with traditional materials – it has been dubbed "Surfbury" by locals.
It has also been dubbed "Kensington-on-Sea" as 
some in Newquay think it has too few affordable 
homes; others object to the green fields the properties will cover.
The Cornwall branch of the Campaign to Protect 
Rural England was among the objectors. Its 
secretary, Ted Venn, said the development "proves 
once again that Prince Charles has failed to 
follow his commitment to conserve the 
environment, despite his claim to be passionate about the environment".
Mr Venn added: "He has again failed to live up to 
his beliefs and... totally ignored the views of local people."
But not everyone in Cornwall, where new homes are 
needed, objects to Tregunnel and councillors 
backed it after a rejection in summer.
So the Prince's expanding property empire rolls 
on. The Duchy is one of the few housebuilders 
seemingly unaffected by the downturn and in 2009 
the Prince was responsible for more new homes 
than Persimmon, one of the country's largest housebuilders.
Next up are two Cornish schemes. One is the 
Newquay Growth Area, 850 homes to go up on Duchy 
land to the east of the town in a specially built 
community that is expected to "grow organically" over the next 40 to 50 years.
The other, in nearby Truro, will have 98 houses, 
a Cornish food hall and a Waitrose supermarket.
This was deferred by councillors at the same 
meeting last week after vociferous local objections.
"We were worried it would be the start of 
development on the site and there was nothing to 
stop the area becoming covered in housing," said 
Truro's Mayor, Councillor Rob Nolan.
"The Duchy might have succeeded in getting what 
they want in Tregunnel but we're determined to 
save Truro," said Ian Hibberd, who set up a 
campaign to stop the scheme and handed in a 627-signature petition against it.
"We don't want a new Poundbury here," he said. 
"It's always the same story with Prince Charles. 
He runs around telling anyone who'll listen how 
much he cares about the environment, but at the 
end of the day he's a property speculator. 
Everywhere the Duchy has land, they'll come up with a scheme to build on it."
But a Duchy spokeswoman yesterday insisted it was 
merely responding to local authority requests. 
"We've been asked to do these schemes because 
they are important in terms of helping local need 
for housing and services," she said.
The Prince's building vision goes far beyond his 
estate's West Country heartland. His Foundation 
for the Built Environment is heavily involved 
with Coed Darcy, a new development of 4,000 
homes, again on traditional lines, on a former 
oil refinery site between Swansea and Neath.
Further north, the foundation has a major role in 
designing and developing Knockroon – a new 
housing estate initially of 770 homes in an old 
mining village between Cumnock and Auchinleck in Ayrshire.
It too will also be built on the Poundbury 
principles of traditional architecture and materials.
The Prince is even looking abroad now, with the 
foundation helping with the rebuilding of the 
Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, destroyed in 
last year's earthquake, and exploring the 
prospect of designing an eco-town in India.

New planning rules 'favour developers'
Proposals to make it easier to build new homes 
and businesses are weighted in favour of 
developers and need to be rewritten, an 
influential committee of MPs warns today.
The Communities and Local Government Committee 
backed complaints by the National Trust and the 
Council for the Protection of Rural England that 
the new planning rules could lead to 
unsustainable new building across the country. 
They called for a default answer of 'Yes' to 
development to be removed from the National 
Planning Policy Framework before it is brought 
into force. They also call for the removal from 
the final draft of the presumption that planning 
applications should be approved unless the 
adverse effects "significantly and demonstrably" outweigh the benefits.
The opposition to the plans – not only from 
campaigners but Conservative MPs, too – will 
increase pressure on David Cameron and the Local 
Government Secretary Eric Pickles to revise the 
framework before it is published in final form.
Oliver Wright

+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered 
that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid that 
shall not be made known. What I tell you in 
darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye 
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27

Die Pride and Envie; Flesh, take the poor's advice.
Covetousnesse be gon: Come, Truth and Love arise.
Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of dores:
Cast out Hypocrisie and Lust, which follows whores:
Then England sit in rest; Thy sorrows will have end;
Thy Sons will live in peace, and each will be a friend. 
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