Affordable and private housing are integrated throughout the town
Predicted to increase gross value added by £105 million per year when completed
All neighbourhoods are no more than a 5-minute walk from the town centre
Fulfilling King Charles III’s vision for sustainable living
Built on Duchy of Cornwall land, the town reflects His Majesty King Charles III’s vision of what town planning should be like.
The King sought to challenge 20th century planning trends and policies, which had led to isolated housing estates and shopping centres away from places of work and leisure.
This forced people to make more car journeys.
Instead, Poundbury was to be built with a more sustainable approach at heart.
The town planning followed four key principles:
- Architecture of place: creating beauty and reflecting local character
- Integrated affordable housing: affordable and private housing blend in throughout the town
- A walkable community: built around the pedestrian, every neighbourhood is no more than a five-minute walk from the town centre
- A mix of uses: integrates homes with shops, businesses and leisure spaces
Then Duke of Cornwall, the King appointed architect Leon Krier in 1988 to work on a concept for the 400 acres of land that would become Poundbury.
Construction started in October 1993 and is expected to be completed by 2027.
By then, Poundbury will have expanded Dorchester’s population by one quarter – a total of 5,800 people.
Did you know …
Poundbury’s streets are built to control traffic. Every 70m something happens to slow cars down (i.e. blind bends).
Most utilities in the town, including satellites, are located underground.
Poundbury’s affordable housing makes up 35% of the homes in town, and include rent, shared ownership and discounted sales.
How was Poundbury built?
While designing Poundbury, honouring the area's heritage was at the forefront, with a focus on using local materials.
In the town, 35% of the homes are affordable housing for rent, shared ownership or discounted sales.
These homes are integrated and built to the same standard as all other houses in Poundbury, which helps to build social togetherness throughout.
The town is designed around pedestrians, rather than cars.
The streets and town squares are well connected and the neighbourhoods in Poundbury are within a five-minute walk from the town centre.
The streets have been made purposely irregular in order to slow down vehicles.
A key to reducing the need for vehicles has been planning a mixed-use town.
In Poundbury, residential, retail, business and leisure spaces are integrated, making it an even more walkable town.
Where parking is needed, there’s ample space provided with very few restrictions.
Difference Poundbury has made
Poundbury will make a significant contribution to Dorchester’s economy.
By the time the development is completed, it’s expected to contribute a gross value of £105 million per year. This value includes the industries that have come to town, but also changes in household incomes and consumers' purchasing habits.
Small workshops and retail spaces are integrated within larger blocks so independent and artisan companies can work alongside more established, industrial businesses.
By its completion, Poundbury is expected to have created 1,630 full time equivalent jobs.
Furthermore, the construction phases will add a gross value of £236 million to the local economy.
Poundbury has also contributed to the community. Various groups have been established, such as drama clubs, a choir, gardening clubs, and community picnics.
Every August, Poundbury hosts the Dorset Food & Arts Festival in the town’s Queen Mother Square. The event aims to promote local artisan food and drink.
In terms of sustainability, Poundbury boasts the UK’s first full-scale anaerobic digester (when bacteria breaks down organic material) and commercial biomethane-to-grid plant.
As of 2020, the plant, Rainbarrow Farm, generates enough renewable gas to power 7,500 houses in the winter and 100,000 in the summer.
Two other value-added sustainable ventures have been created:
- The leftover material from the anaerobic digestion, aptly called digestate, is dried, bagged and sold as a nutrient-rich soil conditioner.
- Renewably sourced carbon dioxide is also provided to the food and drink industry.
Other sustainable measures in Poundbury include electric vehicle charging points and built-in bird boxes.
- 1987 – West Dorset County Council selects lands within the Duchy of Cornwall to expand the town. As Duke of Cornwall, King Charles III works closely with the council.
- 1988 – King appoints Leon Krier, architect and urban planner, to work on the overall concept of Poundbury.
- 1989 – The Poundbury Masterplan is exhibited at a planning weekend for residents and stakeholders to share feedback.
- 1993 – Construction begins on the first phase.
- c. 2027 – Construction of the final section, the northwest quadrant in the town, is expected to be completed.
People who made it happen
King Charles III
Duchy of Cornwall
Regional builders working with local and London-based architects, including:
- Leon Krier
- Peterjohn Smyth
- John Simpson
- Ben Pentreath
- Quinlan and Francis Terry
- James Gorst
- Barbara Weiss Architects
- Poundbury: After 30 years has King Charles' town worked? - BBC News (2022)
- King Charles III's vision helped build an experimental English town, but not everybody is sold on its 'movie set' energy - Insider (2022)
- A royal revolution: is Prince Charles's model village having the last laugh? - The Guardian (2016)
- Behind the Façade of Prince Charles's Poundbury - Architect Magazine (2013)