How to make homes out of hous­ing

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Pine­hurst II, Pine­hurst Road, Farn­bor­ough Busi­ness Park, Farn­bor­ough, Hamp­shire GU14 7BF Tele­phone 01252 555072 www.coun­

THIS week, The Prince of Wales is to pay his an­nual visit to the Duchy of Corn­wall, dur­ing which he will in­spect progress at Nansledan, younger sis­ter of Pound­bury. Nansledan, which means ‘broad val­ley’ in Cor­nish, is the Duchy’s ex­ten­sion to Newquay, quite dif­fer­ent from the pros­per­ous county town of Dorch­ester that’s Pound­bury’s home.

Newquay may be a surfer’s dream, but it shows it­self in un­der­ly­ing colours of de­pri­va­tion dur­ing win­ter. It also has a dif­fer­ent de­mo­graphic: Pound­bury, now past its 30th birth­day, is thronged with re­tirees, whereas Nansledan at­tracts a younger crowd, of­ten fam­i­lies with young chil­dren, and two-thirds of buy­ers come from the area.

Nansledan shows how The Prince’s ideas have de­vel­oped since the first bat­tles to ob­tain plan­ning per­mis­sion for Pound­bury were fought in the 1980s. Then, the em­phases were on ‘walk­a­bil­ity’ (pedes­tri­ans tak­ing pri­or­ity over cars), mixed use (the idea that work spa­ces could be built near peo­ple’s homes) and style (tra­di­tional and, par­tic­u­larly, Clas­si­cal forms were vis­cer­ally loathed by the ar­chi­tec­tural es­tab­lish­ment). It was the last el­e­ment that re­ceived most at­ten­tion.

Pound­bury is so fizzing with ideas it can seem over-busy, but Nansledan is more com­fort­able in its skin. Master plan­ner Hugh Pet­ter and ar­chi­tect Ben Pen­treath take a more re­laxed ap­proach.

Nansledan is not about style so much as place. Deep thought has gone into mak­ing this a com­mu­nity. Af­ford­able homes are scat­tered among more ex­pen­sive prop­er­ties —vis­ually, there is noth­ing to tell them apart. There are com­mu­nity al­lot­ments, places where peo­ple can meet that are part of a local food strat­egy link­ing it with the pro­duc­tive sur­round­ing coun­try­side.

Re­gional builders use local ma­te­ri­als, such as Cor­nish gran­ite, the de­mand for which has given a nearby quarry a new lease of life. Her­itage is re­spected through Cor­nish pla­ce­names and study of the local ver­nac­u­lar which, amus­ingly, in­cludes Art Deco.

Not ev­ery new de­vel­op­ment can be a Nansledan, but more es­tate own­ers are fol­low­ing The Prince’s ex­am­ple through the Landowner Le­gacy ini­tia­tive. At a time when Gren­fell Tower is ex­pos­ing the fail­ures of 50 years of hous­ing pol­icy, ev­ery­body en­gaged in plan­ning and ar­chi­tec­ture, in­clud­ing the Sec­re­tary of State for Com­mu­ni­ties and Local Gov­ern­ment, should visit be­cause we don’t have to re­peat the same mis­takes. There is an­other way. (‘Ar­chi­tec­ture to­day’, see page 48).

‘Pound­bury can seem over-busy, but Nansledan is more com­fort­able in its skin

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