Prince Charles has been accused of ‘spearheading a monstrosity’ with a proposal to build 2,500 greenfield homes in Kent.
The Duchy of Cornwall, the future king’s estate, has been met with strong resistance over its ‘masterplan’ to build a huge housing estate on 320 acres of its Grade 1 agricultural land.
If approved, it would be in direct conflict with Boris Johnson‘s promise in his Tory conference speech this week that there would be no more homes ‘jammed in the South East’ on green fields.
The duchy argues the plan is ‘following the prince’s vision’ to deliver the ‘most sustainable’ homes possible, and will address a housing crisis in the medieval market town of Faversham.
The estate aims to be a ‘walkable community’ of tree-lined avenues and ‘designed more around the pedestrian than the car’, with no driveways.
Prince Charles has been accused of ‘spearheading a monstrosity’ with a proposal to build 2,500 greenfield homes in Kent
But locals fear it will exacerbate traffic problems, wipe out wildlife and overrun stretched public services.
Local campaign groups including the Community Planning Alliance and Stop The Destruction Of Kent are rallying against it alongside the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
Dr Hilary Newport, director of CPRE Kent, said they ‘do not believe [the plans] are environmentally sustainable’.
She added: ‘Grade 1 agricultural land is a scarce resource we can’t be squandering. Kent is called the Garden of England for a reason.’
Marian Sutton, 60, a general manager, and her husband Tim, 58, an IT worker, are so upset over the proposals they are leaving the area after 25 years.
She said: ‘It is unbelievable that Prince Charles lectures on being kind to the environment and his own duchy is spearheading this monstrosity.’
Housewife Carol Goatham, 36, who has lived in Faversham all her life, is also outraged by the project, which would be the biggest ever development in the market town.
She said: ‘I am personally amazed Charles would sanction this.’
There is, however, some reluctant support for the proposals.
History teacher Anthony Kemp, 51, said: ‘Out of all the developments in Faversham, I think this will be the best one.
The Duchy of Cornwall, the future king’s estate, has been met with strong resistance over its ‘masterplan’ to build a huge housing estate on 320 acres of its Grade 1 agricultural land
‘However, I feel it is completely inappropriate for a market town like Faversham to have been given too large a housing allocation.’
Councillor Ben Swale added: ‘We do need housing because we have a housing crisis. There seems to be an appreciation for the town from the duchy’s representatives – they’re willing to engage.’
The duchy acquired the plot 20 years ago and first proposed the plans in response to a call to landowners for potential housing sites in 2018.
It finally unveiled them at a public meeting and drop-in consultation last month, with a view to lodging the plans next year.
Homes would range from one-bed to six-bed, be built from local materials and inspired by traditional local architecture.
They will all have solar panels and be powered fully by renewable energy. As per government guidelines, 30 per cent will be affordable.
The plans also include a primary school, sports clubs and ‘commercial areas’, providing local jobs.
Ben Murphy, estate director of the duchy, said: ‘We are a royal estate and it’s not comfortable for us to see greenfield and good quality land going out of production.
If approved, it would be in direct conflict with Boris Johnson’s promise in his Tory conference speech this week that there would be no more homes ‘jammed in the South East’ on green fields. Above: Prince Charles’ Poundbury development in Dorset
‘But if the local authority deems this is the best location for an urban expansion of the town, then it’s about how can we make this the most sustainable community that we can.’
He added that ‘various studies’ showed the land was ‘the most sustainable location’.
The duchy’s first ‘urban extension’ was a ‘walkable community’ called Poundbury in Dorchester, Dorset, where 2,000 homes were built from 1993.
It is also developing 3,700 homes in a project called Nansledan in Newquay, Cornwall.
Swale Borough Council in Kent wants to build 10,000 homes in total. It said it would consult ‘on the issues and potential options’ for developments from October 29.
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