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Homes in Poundbury to be checked

Poundbury - general view April 2019

Published at 8:15am 23rd May 2019. (Updated at 11:01am 23rd May 2019)

Duchy officials are checking homes on the Royal development at Poundbury for alterations.

Staff working for Prince Charles say they want to check that changes which have not been agreed by the Duchy office are not getting out of hand.

Estate officials are now inspecting homes which may have been changed from the original design – both without and with permission.

The estate office says that all residents signed an agreement when buying which says they should not carry out any alterations without specific permission from the Duchy. Some works will also have to comply with planning permission, or building control.

Poundbury in April 2019
A street in Poundbury.

A letter from the Duchy office has gone out to residents warning that an official will be carrying out an audit of all works which have taken place on Poundbury buildings, whether agreed or not.

The letter reminds residents that the Duchy has oversight of all works to property on Poundbury which has the potential to change the external appearance of buildings and therefore the overall appearance of Poundbury as a whole which, it says, is controlled through stipulations, which are a legally binding requirement in conveyance documentation on individual properties.

'What residents are being told'

Residents on Poundbury are being told: “For some time now the Duchy have 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 find 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. In fairness to all and in order to take firm control of the situation the Duchy has decided to carry out a full audit of all works that have taken place on Poundbury buildings whether granted approval or not. The results of this audit will then inform future decisions made by the Duchy on alteration work.”

The Duchy says its commercial building surveyor will be touring the estate over a period of weeks with a clipboard and camera recording building alterations do not exhibit the aspirations of the Poundbury design guide.

“The photographic record is purely to establish the extent of works undertaken that are not in harmony with the spirit of the original design guide which has prevailed on Poundbury since the development began,” said the letter to residents.

'Survey'

Said a Duchy of Cornwall spokesperson: “A survey is currently being undertaken by the Duchy of Cornwall to identify changes made to Poundbury over the development’s 25 year history. 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.”

Construction of Poundbury started in October 1993 over 400 acres of land with 250 acres of mixed-use buildings and 150 acres of landscaping.

On its website the Duchy says: “The architecture of Poundbury is unashamedly traditional and reflects the local style, but it is not a village; it is an urban extension to Dorchester.”

The development is expected to add around 4,500 people to the population of Dorchester when it is completed in 2025.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter

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