Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Charles Windsor: Urban Space-Cadet

Charles Windsor is in Cornish headlines once more. This time, he’s endangering Truro’s fragile economy by advocating the building of new housing and a giant food centre on Duchy of Cornwall land at the city's edge.

Windsor claims the project would allow local food producers to compete with supermarket giants, as well as providing much-needed accommodation. His plan would destroy a beautiful valley, and replace it with the sort of urban sprawl he supposedly abhors. Farmland which currently supports a fine dairy herd, hedgerows and trees would all be destroyed.

Despite Windsor’s claim to encourage Cornish food producers, one of the partners behind his scheme is Waitrose – the toffs’ supermarket which coincidentally stocks his own expensive Duchy Originals food products.
Waitrose would share the new food centre with a consortium, which would buy goods from local sources and sell them under a brand called the Taste of Cornwall. But the supermarket would have three quarters of the store, Taste of Cornwall merely the remainder; so much for helping local producers. The consortium’s composition is yet to be confirmed.
Truro City Council’s leading the local opposition to Windsor’s stupid notion. The Council believes shoppers would head to Waitrose, perhaps have a look at the Taste of Cornwall items and then return home without bothering to go into Truro itself. The result? An irretrievably damaged city centre, its renowned Georgian streets deserted, the farmers’ market gone, independent shops closed down.
Windsor’s previous meddling in town and country planning resulted in the appalling Poundbury development in Dorset, his dream of the perfect English village. A rag-tag collection of shoddy buildings, the pop-up wasteland has failed to establish any sense of community and is detested as self-important by residents of nearby Dorchester.
For Cornish folk who want it, a short drive from Truro there's already a food hall at the A.30 Fraddon turn-off. Selling over-priced, unnecessary items, the hall’s effete snootiness is counterpointed by its location. Thanks to a McDonalds further up the gradient, the spot’s known locally as Hamburger Hill.

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