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Chinese take development cues from Prince Charles

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An unlikely alliance has been forged between the Prince of Wales' architectural acolytes and a group of Chinese civic leaders.

Delegates from a new town near Shanghai have toured the famous Poundbury development in Dorset ( pictured) to gain inspiration for extensions to their settlement, which is known as Thames Town.

Simon Conibear, Poundbury development manager; Nick Rowson, landscape design associate for Atkins, the firm responsible for designing and engineering Thames Town; and Robin Potter, mayor of Dorchester, joined the visit.

Thames Town is described as a quintessential English town complete with cobbled streets, mock-Tudor houses and English-style boutiques.

However, if Modernist critics think Leon Krier's Poundbury is a pastiche, then they will be horrified by the vast Chinese scheme.

Rowson said he was pleased the two groups had come to an understanding.

'The two [Poundbury and Thames Town] have a lot of similarities in terms of being completely from scratch new-build with a range of housing, retail and other types of development, effectively creating a character which suggests organic growth,' he said.

And a spokeswoman for the Duchy agreed. 'People from around the world have been to see Poundbury to learn about the principles of urban planning that have been put in place there, and we always welcome visitors who want to come and see what it's all about,' she said.

by Ed Dorrell

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