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Prince Charles's stalled ‘Scottish Poundbury’ under scrutiny

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The Charity Commission has asked The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation (PWCF) for clarification about why a £1.71 million loan to help build ‘the Scottish Poundbury’ has been waived

An investigation by The Scotsman has discovered that the foundation has written off the loan to Dumfries Farming and Land Limited (DFLL), a property subsidiary set up to deliver the development at Knockroon, Ayrshire.

So far, only 31 homes out of a planned 770 have been delivered, after a dramatic fall in the value of the land. The first cottages were delivered by Prince’s Foundation architect Lachlan Stewart and designer Ben Pentreath in 2011 (see AJ 05.10.11).

In a statement, charities regulator the Charity Commission said that the information it has analysed shows that the funds have not been lost ‘and are being donated to another charity in line with the charity’s charitable purposes’.

But it added that it has contacted the charity to clarify the basis on which the loan was waived.

The Scotsman said that, without the waiver, DFLL would have posted losses of more than £132,000 for the 12 months to March 2015.

A spokesman for PWCF told the newspaper: ’The project is now moving forwards under the stewardship of the Dumfries House Trust, which has the local skills and expertise to develop the subsequent phases in the most appropriate way.’

The Knockroon development’s design is informed by a conservative Georgian/Regency revival aesthetic, similar to that of the prince’s Poundbury development in Dorset.

Glasgow architect Alan Dunlop told The Architects’ Journal: ‘Consequently Knockroon was mocked by contemporary architects – rightly – as fake and Disneyesque, even Architecture and Design Scotland lobbied for a variation of architectural expression.

‘The foundation, however, ignored all request for more variety and dismissed contemporary thinking on how a truly sustainable development would be created.’

He added that the developers have also side-stepped the requirement to build a percentage of social housing for rent. No affordable housing was erected in phase 1 of the scheme.

Dunlop said: ‘That’s not what private developers are interested in if the private houses are not selling, for there is no money in social housing. Therefore, Knockroon ignores its primary intent as a sustainable development and model for the future.’

The original proposal for Knockroon was to build 770 houses, 330 of them to have been completed by 2017.

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