Houses fit for a Prince as Duchy homes bid backed

Saturday 9th July 2022 10:00 am

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A RENEWED bid by Prince Charles’ private estate to build 24 houses on village farmland near a Grade I-listed church has been given the go-ahead.

The scheme was approved in 2018 for fields at the south edge of St Weonards, but the Duchy of Cornwall estate reapplied to Herefordshire Council so the permission didn’t lapse on the sloping five-acre site beside the A466 road to Hereford.

The grassland belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall, the heir to the throne’s 55,000-hectare estate dotted around southern England.

And the new homes will sit next to the village primary school and be overlooked by the 900-year-old St Weonards Church tower.

“The involvement of the Duchy ensures that design quality is paramount, local materials and skills will be used wherever possible, and control of change to the development will be maintained,” the application said.

Eight of the houses, with two and three bedrooms, will be for “social, affordable or intermediate rent”, the rest for market sale.

A parking strategy for the development aims to minimise parked cars from the main street, with 58 off-street parking spaces provided.

A footpath round the village school grounds, and away from the main A466, will connect the estate with the rest of the village.

According to the application, the plan was initiated in 2016 at the behest of St Weonards Parish Council – which did not comment on the final proposal – and was followed by extensive community consultation.

An earlier plan for the site, also for 24 homes but with different designs and layout, was approved four years ago but has since lapsed.

The only objection to the latest bid came from neighbour Colin Hewitt, who was concerned about noise from more frequent use of an adjacent sewage pumping station due to the extra houses.

Prince Charles has championed community-led sustainable housing through developments on Duchy land that “add real value” to local residents, setting out his architecture and urban development philosophy in ‘A Vision of Britain’.

His philosophy includes reflecting the traditional local housing character and identity, open areas, connected walking routes and integrated affordable housing.

The Prince has written: “We must demand better places that break the stranglehold of the conventional mold of monocultural housing estates and zoned developments that, up to now, have put the car at the centre of the design process and not the pedestrian and thereby created an increasingly unsustainable environment.”

The planning application said the scheme would “provide 24 homes in a landscape setting, with open space natural landscaping, footpaths within the site and offsite to connect with the school, village hall shop and church…

“The proposed development is conceived as an organic extension to the existing village.

“Pedestrian connectivity with the village core is a central theme.”


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