Poundbury facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsPoundbury
Queen Mother Square, with Strathmore House (right)
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Poundbury is an experimental new town or urban extension on the outskirts of Dorchester in the county of Dorset, England. It was initiated by architect Léon Krier with the keen endorsement of Charles, Prince of Wales, on whose land it is built (Duchy of Cornwall). Its design is based on traditional architecture and New Urbanist philosophy. Due for completion in 2025, it is expected to house a population of 6,000. Poundbury currently provides employment for over 2,000 people in over 180 businesses. Poundbury has been praised for reviving the low-rise streetscape built to the human scale, and for echoing traditional local design features but it has not reduced car use, as originally intended, and some critics have described it as artificially nostalgic.
The development is built to a traditional high-density urban pattern, rather than a suburban one, focused on creating an integrated community of shops, businesses, and private and social housing. There is no zoning. The planners say they are designing the development around people rather than the car, and they aim to provide a high-quality environment, from the architecture to the selection of materials, to the signposts, and the landscaping. To avoid constant construction, utilities are buried in common utility ducts under the town. Common areas are maintained by a management company to which all residents belong. It consists of 40% social housing and is designed for sustainable development, which includes being carbon-neutral.
To some degree, the project shows similarities with the contemporary New Urbanism movement, except that the design influences are European. The design of the houses are in traditional and new classical styles, with period features such as bricked-up windows, a feature found on many old British buildings, due to the window tax.
Poundbury's aesthetics have been criticized by several commentators. Architecture writer Jonathan Meades labelled the town a "cottagey slum" and a "Thomas Hardy theme-park for slow learners". ARCHITECT magazine's Witold Rybczynski, however, says that "Poundbury embodies social, economic, and planning innovations that can only be called radical."
The overall plan was developed in the late 1980s by the Luxembourgian architect Leon Krier, and construction started in October 1993. Krier's plans have been criticised for mixing too many different continental styles and the use of non-local building materials, which are not consistent with the traditions of Dorchester. It is expected that the four plan phases will be developed over 25 years with a total of 2,500 dwellings and a population of approximately 6,000.
Greetings card entrepreneur Andrew Brownsword sponsored the £1 million development of the market hall at Poundbury, designed by John Simpson and based on early designs, particularly the one in Tetbury.
Following New Urbanist principles, Poundbury was intended to reduce car dependency and encourage walking, cycling, and public transport. A survey conducted at the end of the first phase, however, showed that car use was higher in Poundbury than in the surrounding (rural) district of West Dorset. Nonetheless, the community is receiving positive recognition from New Urbanist publications such as Better Cities and Towns.
Brownsword Hall in Poundbury, designed by architect John Simpson and based on earlier traditional designs, particularly one in Tetbury
Economy and employment
In 2010, Poundbury increased Dorset's county local economy contributing over £330 million; it is expected to contribute £500 million in the next 15 years.
In 2010, more than 2,000 Poundbury residents were working in 180 local businesses. In 2017, the number of businesses increased to 185, providing 2,345 jobs. Businesses include a Waitrose store, a technical company which produces parts for aeroplane wings, and a chocolate factory.
One notable local employer is the breakfast food manufacturer and exporter Dorset Cereals, which since 2000 has employed more than 100 people at its purpose-built barn factory. Reportedly there is space for about 80 additional businesses.
Poundbury has two primary schools in the catchment area: The Prince of Wales and Damers First School. The latter was already an existing school in Dorchester but in 2017 relocated to Poundbury, where a new school building was built.
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