Prince’s vision spurs new village

MARTINE PAUWELS –
In his long wait to become Britain’s king, Prince Charles has pursued his passion for architecture. His latest brainchild is a new neighbourhood in a deprived area of Cornwall in England’s southwestern corner.
“Nansledan” (“Broad Valley” in Cornish) is an extension of the seaside resort of Newquay, popular with surfers and young revellers, and aims to provide environmentally friendly housing and give a shot in the arm to the former mining region’s economy.
“We are looking to create a viable community… we will be building a school, we’re building a church, offices, shops,” said Alastair Martin, from The Duchy of Cornwall, the prince’s estate.
With an architectural focus on combining tradition and modernity, the new one- and two-storey houses line neat streets with Cornish names.
The homes’ stone and pastel-hued facades as well as the slate roofs are a deliberate effort to help blend the homes in with the area’s older buildings.
Unlike many suburbs where the car is king and everything is a drive away, Nansledan has its own amenities and is a short walk to the shore and town centre.
Developers hope the project will regenerate and diversify Newquay’s economy, which currently relies on tourism and low-paid seasonal jobs.
Some 137 houses have already gone up since construction began on part of the prince’s vast landholdings in 2014.
In total, some 4,000 dwellings will be built over 40 years on the 218-hectare plot, which belongs to the Duchy.
“For a town of only 20,000 people that’s quite a lot,” said town councillor Louis Gardner.
The green, pink and blue buildings remind Theresa Ferguson, an employee at the nearby airport who moved into one of the new houses in June, of the small Irish village from where her mother originated.
“This is something that’s going to be really good for Newquay, good for the area and good for me and for family when they come down,” Ferguson said.
Nansledan is also forward-thinking in a bid to remain sustainable, combining Charles’s twin passions of architecture and the environment.
“He’s been very heavily involved,” said architect Hugh Petter, director of ADAM Architecture which has helped coordinate the project. “He comes down twice a year.”
Nansledan is not Charles’s first attempt at a planned community.
— AFP