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Probe launched into Poundbury residents’ ‘unauthorised’ alterations

Shutterstock dorchester uk may 2016 streets of houses and construction earthworks in poundbury prince charles new town under construction in dorset
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Prince Charles’s private estate has launched a probe into ‘unauthorised works’ by homeowners on buildings within his Poundbury new town in Dorset

The Duchy of Cornwall has written to resident bodies announcing the building survey of the Neoclassical urban extension of Dorchester.

Started in 1993 and scheduled to complete in 2025, Poundbury is an attempt to create a community using traditional architecture favoured by the Prince of Wales. Stringent conditions are attached to house purchases within the development, ruling out certain unapproved alterations.

But in an online message shared with community groups and resident bodies, the Duchy of Cornwall said: ‘For some time now the Duchy has been aware of unauthorised works undertaken on Poundbury, which other residents on Poundbury naturally assume, because of the stipulations, has received duchy approval.

‘As the extent of this unauthorised work grows, the duchy finds it harder to control those works that they are asked to approve, as the people asking for the approval then make reference to unauthorised works of the same or similar to what they are proposing.’

A duchy spokesperson told the AJ the probe was designed to give it a clear picture of what works had taken place in the district.

‘A survey is currently being undertaken by the Duchy of Cornwall to identify changes made to Poundbury over the development’s 25-year history,’ said the spokesperson.

‘This will enable duchy staff to work with the community in Poundbury to maintain the development’s ethos on architecture and urban planning, for the benefit of both current and future owners and residents.’

In 2013 the residents’ association at the 2008 Stirling Prize-winning Accordia housing development in Cambridgeshire succeeded in getting Conservation Area Status for the neighbourhood to safeguard its ‘architectural uniformity’ and protect against extensions and alterations.

In a BBC documentary to mark his 70th birthday, the Prince of Wales last year said he would stop ‘meddling’ in architectural issues if he became king.  

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