Residents of Prince Charles's model village stop development

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The Independent Online

Residents of Poundbury in Dorset are celebrating a decision to reject plans for a block of flats in the Prince of Wales's model village.

The developer, Woodpecker Properties, had appealed against two sets of rejected plans for the flats.

The first scheme for 31 flats, two shops and parking was rejected by West Dorset District Council planning committee in August last year. A second set of plans for 26 flats, two shops, four office units and parking was also rejected in May 2005.

Poundbury, built on Duchy of Cornwall land, was conceived by Prince Charles to inspire town planning and design after he derided contemporary architecture.

But residents have argued that the flats at Jubilee Court were "cramped", "poorly designed" and a "monstrous carbuncle".

The planning inspector, Jonathan Roberts, who heard evidence during the appeal hearing in September this year, has dismissed Woodpecker's appeals for both sets of plans.

David Dawkins, who lives next to the proposed site, spoke on behalf of residents who opposed the scheme. He said the project would have created about 130 dwellings per hectare compared with government recommendations of 40 per hectare. Mr Dawkins, a transport planner for Dorset County Council, said the Duchy had ignored residents. "Consequently it's very reassuring to see that when we set out the real issues, the planning issues, in front of the independent inspectorate, some of our arguments must have been right and these are the arguments that the Duchy have dismissed."

He said the decision had implications for the whole country. "Because it is an example housing estate, if the Duchy of Cornwall could have done it with the endorsement of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, other developers would have been citing Poundbury, which would have set a very strong precedent."