UK

Charles sets out builders' test

Prince Charles speaking to planners
Image caption The Prince set out his planning rules of thumb

The Prince of Wales has called on housing developers to consider whether they would live in their own sites.

Prince Charles said the idea was a basic rule of thumb for home builders, as he addressed councillors and planners at Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh.

He warned against projects such as one in Somerset where the local authority insisted affordable housing should be separate rather than mixed in.

He said his Foundation for the Built Environment tried a different approach.

Complex art

The Prince told the Scottish Government's chief planner, Jim Mackinnon, and representatives from the country's 32 local authorities few were creating fully sustainable places.

He said: "Place-making is an incredibly complex art. When people talk glibly about sustainable communities, there are very few people that can actually make that happen because it requires a lot of effort, it requires a lot of learning, it requires a lot of experience.

"I hate to say this, but I will, and that is that at the end of the day my foundation is about the only one, certainly in this country, trying to encourage a revised approach.

"So often it seems to me the rule books drawn up in the 1950s-60s have become less than perhaps appropriate for the situation and the challenges we now face.

"Rule books, for road engineers in particular, so often mean at the end of the day that you can only produce another housing estate, not an actual community of place."

Ayrshire praise

At one housing development in Somerset he said a "mini Berlin wall" was being built between the housing areas because of problems associated with the lower-cost scheme.

He said: "There are just one or two basic rules of thumb worth remembering.

"First of all is: would I live in or next to the development? I keep saying to house-builders and developers, where do you live? Would you live next to, or in view of, the places you build?

"Not a bad test at the end of the day."

Charles held up a scheme in east Ayrshire as an example of good planning.

Knockroon, which will extend Cumnock with a mix of low-cost and other types of housing, has been awarded "exemplar status" for its approach.

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