Poundbury, the dream of Prince Charles, is claimed by Hadlow Estate to be the main inspiration behind the Tudeley development.
Weird or wonderfully idyllic, just like Marmite, you will either love it or loathe it.
Poundbury is served by two A-roads and easy access to existing railway stations. It is neither a village nor a town but a suburb of Dorchester albeit with its own identity.
In common with all the other examples of new developments following new-urbanist design principles which have been extolled by Hadlow Estate, the key element in choosing their locations seems to have been existing transport infrastructure and close proximity to at least one A-road.
That is patently not the case for the Tudeley development.
Whilst Poundbury is the result of a long-held passion and many years in the planning; the Tudeley development is espoused as “a responsible action to the housing crisis.”
Throughout the country, there seems to be an unstoppable bandwagon that wealthy landowners have jumped on. “If it’s a Poundbury, it will get the seal of approval” no matter how unsuitable a site.
Both HRH and Hadlow Estate bemoan monoculture housing estates with “no sense of community or place”. Certainly beautiful surroundings are a benefit, and the outward look of some housing estates is deplorable, but it is people who create community and not bricks.
Many will appreciate the order and the rules of Poundbury, but equally, others would regard it as an imposition of one person’s idea of beauty.
If the plan for Tudeley is taken forward, would it have the affordable housing desperately needed by so many, or would this fail to materialise? Would it be controlled by Hadlow Estate in the same way as Poundbury? Would you need permission even to change the colour of your front door?
Whilst any attempt to pedestrianise and reduce car usage should be applauded, there can be unintended consequences! Dark alleys and no passing cars are a gift to crime and anti-social behaviour. From children just knocking on doors at night and running away to the quiet, dark spots habituated by drug users and worse.
Despite seemingly ensuring that Poundbury was in a potentially sustainable location with good existing infrastructure, the following link indicates that lessons are still not being learnt as to the adverse effects of large new housing developments on some aspects of existing infrastructure.
So whether you love or loathe the idea of life in Poundbury, there is one last word of warning to both Hadlow Estate and TWBC, from none other than HRH himself.
“The Duchy of Cornwall believes that successful placemaking cannot be rushed because of the need to focus on the quality of place being created, and the time it takes for the commercial/employment sectors to flourish.
In particular, nurturing commercial uses takes time and could be a limiting factor to accelerating housing delivery beyond 120-150 homes per annum”. (Knight Frank)
Poundbury’s first phase of construction was in 1993.
By the beginning of 2019 (over 26 years), 1,700 homes had been completed. The final rollout of a total of 2,700 homes is due to be completed in 2026 (over 33 years). Factories and landmark buildings were built before any housing.
In comparison, the TWBC Draft Local Plan has ambitions to roll out some 6,000+ new homes in Paddock Wood and Capel over the next 15 years. Infrastructure will be paid for by developer contributions, and so housing will have to come first. What could possibly go wrong??!!