Prince of Wales sets out new rule of thumb for housebuilders

The Prince of Wales has told housebuilders they should ask themselves whether they would live in or near their own developments.

This should be a basic rule of thumb for developers, the prince told Scottish councillors and planners in a meeting at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

Prince Charles 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 housebuilders 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.”

The Home Builders Federation has agreed that Prince Charles’ rule of thumb is a good one and “fair enough”.

A spokesman said: “House builders are producing a product that all surveys show are what customers want. New homes are more environmentally friendly than existing homes, cheaper to run, designed for modern living and everything in them is new - and I think it’s fair to say that developers would be extremely happy to live in one of the high standard homes they produce.”

The prince in particular warned against separating affordable from private homes within a scheme, referring to a “mini Berlin Wall” built on one English development.
Few local authorities were creating fully sustainable places, said Prince Charles.

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.

“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.”