Explore the design, construction, and everyday life of this community built in accordance with HRH The Prince of Wales's vision of architecture and urban planning.
This photograph shows architect Leon Krier (front left) and The Prince of Wales (front right) at the first site meeting in 1993.
Poundbury is an integrated rather than zoned development, planned to challenge the town planning trends and policies of the 20th century which led to isolated housing estates and shopping centres far from places of work and leisure, forcing ever greater reliance on the car.
In particular there are four key principles which have been pioneered at Poundbury:
- Architecture of place: creating beauty and reflecting local character and identity
- Integrated Affordable Housing, integrated with and indistinguishable from private housing
- A walkable community, designed around the pedestrian rather than the car
- A mix of uses, integrating homes with retail and other business uses and public amenities
Character of Place
As Poundbury has developed, it has demonstrated that there is a genuine alternative to the way in which we build new communities in this country.
“The homes, the workspace and the wider layout of streets, squares and lanes have been designed and built with the surrounding landscape and architectural typologies very much in mind.”
– HRH The Prince of Wales.
Integrated Affordable Homes
35% of homes are affordable housing for rent, shared ownership or discounted sales.
Affordable homes are integrated with private homes and built to the same high specification which makes Poundbury "tenure blind". This helps social cohesion and creates a well balanced, mixed income community.
“Providing housing of this quality really can improve people’s lives and open up a lot of opportunities that would otherwise not be afforded to them.”
– The Guinness Partnership, provider of affordable housing in Poundbury.
A Walkable Community
“At Poundbury the entire Masterplan was based upon placing the pedestrian, and not the car, at the centre of the design.”
– HRH The Prince of Wales.
A public realm designed around people rather than cars
Mixed use - supporting independent businesses
There are now 185 businesses in Poundbury employing over 2,300 staff. Integrating small workshop and retail spaces into larger blocks has encouraged a lot of small independent, artisan businesses to start up and thrive in Poundbury alongside more established professional services and industrial businesses.
"My favourite elements of Poundbury are the independent businesses. I really love the Brace of Butchers, for instance, or Finca Coffee in the Buttermarket, or the Clath menswear shop. These are the sort of places that for me make Poundbury so compelling."
– Ben Murphy, Estate Director
Inside many of the shops and cafes in Poundbury, more than half of the businesses are owned by female entrepreneurs.
These businesswomen cite the quality of place and space available, affordable rates, ease of parking and the friendly nature of the community as reasons for choosing Poundbury.
Many are working mums who have been inspired to set up their own business from scratch.
The backbone of the UK economy for generations and Poundbury is no exception.
A large number of the artisan and niche shops are run by mothers and daughters, or husband and wife teams such as Cherryade Life Store.
"I’m so familiar with Poundbury that it is sometimes hard to imagine it through the eyes of someone visiting for the first time.
I think today most people are blown-away by the sheer quality of the spaces and the richness of design, and by the vibrancy created at the heart of the development.
I often say to first-time visitors: ‘please don’t compare us to an old, historic town – the actual comparison should be with a 25 year old modern housing estate’.
I want people to feel as if they have arrived somewhere, not anywhere."
– Ben Pentreath, Poundbury architect
Early Masterplan of Phase 1, showing the mix of uses and permeability through the street patterns, with perimeter blocks housing central car parking courtyards.
Poundbury does not restrict car parking but the buildings and public realm take precedence over cars, with very limited road signs and markings. Car speeds are constrained through the design of irregular street patterns, placing the responsibility back onto motorists to think about how they interact with other road users.
The upper chamber is effectively Poundbury’s community hall, managed by the Poundbury Village Hall Trust and hired out for community, private and commercial events.
The building undercroft and surface of the Square belong to the Hall, and are used for occasional public and theatrical events, as well as a car park.
Click and drag to explore Pummery Square in 360 degrees.
The other buildings fronting Pummery Square provide commercial premise on the ground floor with residential above.
These include the Poet Laureate public house, Poundbury Village Stores, the Octagon Café, the Poundbury Clinic, and a number of smaller shops and services.
Click and drag to explore the Square in 360 degrees.
Aerial view of Poundbury Phase 2 under construction in 2004.
The Stonemasonry School in Poundbury, part of Weymouth College, has an international reputation and forms part of the Dorset Centre for Creative Arts, located off Middle Farm Way
One of the best kept secrets in Poundbury are the community allotments and orchards, carefully tended by gardeners throughout the seasons.
The South West Quadrant is part of Phase 2, situated between Bridport Road and Middle Farm Way, with views towards historic Maiden Castle.
The focal point of the development is the Buttermarket, with small retail units and workshops lining the square.
At the centre, pictured here, is the striking redbrick Buttercross building which houses Finca, a speciality coffee shop / supplier.
"When I set out on this venture, I was determined that Poundbury would break the mould of conventional housing development in this country, and create an attractive place for people to live, work, and play. Many people said that it could never succeed, but I am happy to say that the sceptics were wrong and it is now a thriving urban settlement alongside Dorchester.”
– HRH The Prince of Wales, 2016.
Queen Mother Square
Kings Point House on the west includes a Waitrose supermarket, further retail, offices over two floor with 11 flats above. Royal Pavilion (centre of the picture), comprises 20 luxurious apartments above a five star health spa. On the east side, Strathmore House, with 8 apartments above Dorset Wines, in a classical building designed by Quinlan Terry.
On the east corner of the Square is The Duchess of Cornwall Inn, a large public house and restaurant with 20 bed boutique hotel accommodation above. The Inn is a joint venture between Hall & Woodhouse and the Duchy of Cornwall.
On the south side are Poundbury Garden Centre and Newborough House which includes a cafe, offices, cancer research centre and apartments.
Early sketch of Kings Point House by Francis Terry
8 apartments and 2 businesses are to be found at Strathmore House, Queen Mother Square.
"There is a rich variety of architectural style in Poundbury, all based on traditional architectural forms and details. These range from simple cottage vernacular streets to highly sophisticated classical buildings in the Queen Mother Square.
"The approach was taken in order to create an evolving sense of character areas within the development as a whole. It's about breaking the bland monotony that characterises so many 20th century houses estates, where building types repeat with no idea of creating a true sense of place, and no idea of reflecting or creating a sense of local identity."
– Andrew Hamilton, Development Director
The Duchess of Cornwall Inn, on the east corner of Queen Mother Square.
Her Majesty The Queen visiting Poundbury with His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh on the occasion of the official opening of Queen Mother Square in October 2016.
Her Majesty The Queen unveiling the statue in Queen Mother Square with Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, and The Duchess of Cornwall.
Sustainability is at the very heart of Poundbury:
In 2012 construction was completed on an anaerobic digester plant at Rainbarrow Farm, a joint venture between the Duchy and local farmers to create the first bio methane gas to grid plant in the UK, using a combination of locally grown crops, manures and food waste.
Two electric buses were put into service between Poundbury and Dorchester - the first operational electric buses in southwest England. They are charged with sustainable electricity from the CHP Plant at Rainbarrow Farm.
A Sustainable Strategy has been put in place as part of the Outline Application for Phases 3 & 4 of Poundbury, which states the Duchy’s intentions for delivering carbon reductions.
"Building Poundbury is an absorbing teaching and learning process for everyone involved, for builders, architects, developers, planners, for those who live and work there and not least for The Duchy of Cornwall team and the masterplanner.”
– Leon Krier, Poundbury masterplanner.
Besides Krier, the key players in the design and development team for Poundbury were...
Development Director Andrew Hamilton came on board to oversee the project from the very beginning and has been integral to its success.
The Duchy team at the very heart of Poundbury has been dedicated to its success for decades. Together, they have worked with many architects, planners, developers, residents and businesses, all playing a tremendous role in making Poundbury what it is today.
Architect Ben Pentreath
Architect George Saumarez Smith
Architects Quinlan and Francis Terry