The old-fashioned vision of new urbanism
Prince Charles has a housing development in Cornwall called Nansledan. You can buy a nice-looking place there, if you want to live in a sort-of-replica of a Cornish village.
If you visit the website, it features a main image like a 1950s railway poster, emphasising the retro feel of the development.
But Prince Charles has done this before. His earlier retro-village, Poundbury, started in the 1980s (and is still building, to be completed in 2025). It was at first dismissed by some as “chocolate boxy” and twee, representing the kind of nostalgia that bien-pensant types cringe at.
It has confounded its critics though, by turning out to be somewhere a lot of people want to buy (and pay high market price to do so). Interestingly, these Duchy of Cornwall plans outsource the building to several different developers, each responsible for a separate zone and doing their own style.
At Nansledan, so far it looks like the paint has barely dried, with the ornamental trees still saplings. It still has the new-car smell of fresh tract developments. But Pounbury, with a few years’ aging on it, and the greenery softening the edges, has started to look more like other villages in the area. But a better version. One without the sad 1970s mini-mall off the edge, and the abandoned filling station. The kind of version people who move out from the big city want to buy. The kind where you get a house that looks like it was built in 1850, but it has good insulation and the radiators work.
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