Nansledan is a 540-acre extension to the coastal town of Newquay on the north coast of Cornwall in South West England. The name is Cornish for ‘broad valley’. It is being led by the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns most of the land.
Over time Nansledan will evolve into a community of more than 4,000 homes supporting a similar number of jobs. It will include its own high street, church, school and public spaces, helping to meet the future needs of Newquay in a complementary and sustainable way.
Norman Rourke Pryme in Exeter are providing Clerk of Works, Principal Designer Advisor and Employers Agent services for DCH (Devon and Cornwall Housing) who are building an initial 100 units. The first phase of houses and apartments for both rent and shared ownership built by two contractors namely Morrish Builders and C.G.Fry has just been handed over.
The Grenfell Tower tragedy has thrown the spotlight on to affordable accommodation and the difference between the haves and have-nots in Kensington and Chelsea has stirred fury. In Nansledan 30 per cent of the housing is affordable. Low-cost rented homes are scattered among the more expensive owner-occupied ones eg a new three-bedroom terrace house is on sale for £252,500 with no visible difference between them.
Materials and labour are prioritised from local suppliers from the South West that are well known to the Duchy eg roofs are made from Cornish slate from a nearby quarry that has been given a new lease of life. These suppliers enter into a “consortium” with the Duchy, a method that ensures the architecture is practical and appropriate for the local market,
The Duchy of Cornwall takes the long view. It won’t hurry the pace; only about 100 houses come on to the market in any year. No faster rate is possible because of the limited supply of the building skills involved. As a result, it will take decades for the whole site to be built out, however, this is central to the Duchy model. While it invests heavily in the early years, it knows, as Poundbury has confirmed, that the value of its land will go up, and it will more than recoup the initial expenditure through later sales.
A major challenge facing Britain’s housing industry is land. So little of it is available for building that developers work hard to get hold of whatever they can, at whatever price. There’s little money left for place-making. The Duchy’s model isn’t right everywhere, but it is already appealing to other estates such as Burghley and Blenheim. It could work for local authorities, pension funds and other bodies that own land. If that happened, future historians wouldn’t look back on Nansledan as the Prince of Wales’s seaside caprice (in the spirit of an earlier Prince of Wales’s Brighton Pavilion), but may see it as the beginning of a movement that made Britain better to live in.
See the link to The Times article in July