Army 'eyesores' on Dartmoor put Prince under fire

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The Independent Online

The Prince of Wales has been accused of allowing military look-out posts, described by conservationists as "hideous carbuncles", to be built on land he owns on Dartmoor.

Prince Charles, a regular critic of modern architecture that does not meet with his approval, has been less than forthcoming over the Army's new tin huts which dominate the Dartmoor skyline on his Duchy of Cornwall estate.

Protesters wrote to the Prince after the metal observation posts appeared on Oke Tor and Rough Tor, prominent high points above military training areas within the national park.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society (OSS), said she would invite Prince Charles to visit and assess the impact of the posts himself. She said: "It is outrageous that Prince Charles, who prides himself as a conservationist, should acquiesce to the military abuse of a national park. To borrow a word from the Prince, these are carbuncles on the fair face of Dartmoor." The prince once described the new Sainsbury wing of the National Gallery in London as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved friend".

Ms Ashbrook said: "The previous posts were tucked away but now you see these huge grey humps on the skyline. They really have a severe effect on your enjoyment."

Roger Halliday, Duchy of Cornwall land steward for Dartmoor, said Prince Charles would be made aware of the OSS concerns. "We will be looking into this," he said. "He [Prince Charles] will be kept informed as a routine matter."

Lt-Col Charlie Nutting, commander for the south-west Army training estates, said: "The posts give cover to the range warden who is observing military training and making sure the public do not stray into the area.

"I don't dispute they are visually intrusive but there isn't a great deal we can do about it. Safety is paramount. We are using computer software to look at designing structures that are less obvious."