Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Charles Windsor's Country File: This Week, Fields and Concrete!

Windsor: hypocrite or confused?
Charles Windsor is in the headlines once again. This time he’s reached new heights of odious hypocrisy.

During a recent address to the Oxford Farmers’ Union, Windsor warned of the threat to Britain’s rural way of life from “insensitive development.”  
He said: “It is the people and what they do that creates the beating heart of our countryside … it comes from the tractors in the fields, the skilled workers, the livestock, the growing crops and the landscape’s biodiversity.”

Windsor continued: “All these elements make up a living, breathing countryside which is as precious as any ancient cathedral.”

But meanwhile, in Cornwall plans continue for the construction of new housing and a giant food centre on Duchy of Cornwall land just outside Truro. The mastermind is … well, guess who?

Windsor says his Truro project will allow local food producers to compete with supermarket giants, and provide much-needed accommodation. But his plan would destroy a beautiful valley, replacing it with urban sprawl he supposedly abhors. Farmland which currently supports a fine dairy herd would be wiped out, together with cherished trees and hedgerows.

Despite Windsor’s sometime claim to support Cornish food producers, one of the partners behind his scheme is Waitrose – the toffs’ supermarket which coincidentally stocks his own expensive Duchy Originals wares.

Waitrose would share the new food centre with a consortium, which would buy goods from local sources and sell them under a brand called 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.

Truro City Council’s leading local opposition to Windsor’s stupid idea. The Council believes shoppers would visit Waitrose, perhaps have a look at the Taste of Cornwall items and then return home without bothering to go into Truro itself. The result? A ruined city centre: renowned Georgian streets deserted, the farmers’ market gone, indie shops closed.

Windsor’s previous meddling in country planning led to the Poundbury development in Dorset, his deluded dream of the perfect English village. A hotch-potch of inferior buildings, the pop-up wasteland has failed to create any sense of community and is detested as self-important by local people in nearby Dorchester.

For Cornish folk who want it, near Truro there's already a food centre at the A30 Fraddon turn-off. Selling over-priced unnecessary items, the centre’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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