Julian Fellowes at odds with Prince Charles over royals plans for 100

first_imgIn 2013, the writer responded to earlier proposals for development of a cornfield that forms part of a spectacular valley that is overlooked by Hardy’s former home.Hardy designed and built Max Gate and wrote some of his most famous work there, including Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and The Mayor of Casterbridge.The large red brick house is now at risk of encroachment, according to plans drawn up by the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns land next to it that it plans to develop.The proposal is for 100 Edwardian Arts and Crafts-inspired homes to be erected on the grassland. Max Gate, where Hardy lived for 50 years, now belongs to the National Trust.Admirers of the large house include Lord Fellowes, who lives in the nearby village of Stafford which is in the heart of “Hardy Country”.Last year, the Oscar-winning writer helped thwart a similar-sized development in Lower Bockhampton, where Hardy went to school and set his 1872 novel Under the Greenwood Tree. Julian Fellowes, the Downton Abbey creator, is attempting to curtail plans by Prince Charles for a housing development over fears it will ruin views of Thomas Hardy’s former home.The Prince of Wales’s Duchy of Cornwall estate has unveiled controversial plans to build a large housing estate that will back onto the late author’s historic property.Lord Fellowes, the president of the Hardy Society, has expressed concern that the 100 new properties might “impinge” on Grade I-listed Max Gate in Dorchester, Dorset.It is the second time Lord Fellowes has publicly criticised Prince Charles’s estate with a warning that he risks destroying “Hardy land”. Other local residents have already voiced fears the housing development will bring extra traffic to the Dorchester suburb on top of the visitor traffic for Max Gate.But a Duchy of Cornwall spokesman said that at a recent public meeting called to discuss the plans, the reaction from locals was “quite positive”.He said: “We are working with the local community and stakeholders such as The National Trust and Natural England to shape development plans for 100 much-needed, new homes across four sites in the Fordington area of Dorchester.”The community consultation gave members of the public the opportunity to have their say on these plans, including the creation of a new wetland habitat for wildlife beside the River Frome.”We will now use these comments to guide our plans before a formal application is submitted early next year.”The Duchy owns swathes of land around Dorchester, most notably Poundbury which is Prince Charles’ 20-year project to build a utopian town which is already home to 2,500 people.Max Gate was designed by Hardy, a trained architect and built by his father and brother from red brick in 1885. Thomas HardyCredit:Hulton Archive/Getty Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img The local council is aware that they have something special, they must look after the story of Thomas Hardy and always bear it in mindLord Fellowes Lord Fellowes said: “I’m permanently concerned about the future of Max Gate, which has already been compromised by housing on one side.”The local council is aware that they have something special, they must look after the story of Thomas Hardy and always bear it in mind.”Perhaps there is a way of developing the land that impinges less on Max Gate. With that being said I see no point in going to war over it and I do feel there must be new houses, people must be housed.”He added: “What stuns me is why all this development comes to Dorchester, I’m not sure why it’s unequally shared among surrounding towns.”Although the Duchy of Cornwall has had the plans drawn up, they are yet to be submitted to the local planning authority for approval. Of the 100 new properties, 35 of them will be “affordable homes”.Richard Nicholls, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “There is always a concern when building is done on green spaces and this is no exception.”Developments are contentious, especially in this case when it’s on a site so close to Max Gate, which is such a culturally significant building.”We will certainly be keeping a close eye on proceedings and once a plan is submitted, we’ll adopt a formal stance.” Thomas Hardylast_img

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