Telegraph article on Cul de sacs & Prince's Foundation

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Charles backs plans to cull the cul-de-sac

Daily Telegraph, England
By Matthew Moore and PA
Last Updated: 2:32am GMT 12/02/2007

The cul-de-sac - one of the icons of post-war suburban stability - could be on its way out under new townbuilding plans backed by the Prince of Wales.

Prince Charles's experimental village of Poundbury is built to a traditional high-density urban pattern, not to suit motorists.

Mainstream housebuilders have joined forces with the Prince of Wales to back new green design principles encouraging a move away from suburban sprawl and a return to more traditional varied street patterns.

Critics of the cul-de-sac believe that they promote car dependence rather than public transport use.

The Home Builders Federation (HBF), whose members are behind 80 per cent of developments in Britain, says that it wants mainstream builders to follow the the example of Poundbury, the Prince's model village in Dorset.

The HBF this week joined forces with The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment to set out a series of design principles which include energy efficient design, use of local materials and better street layouts.

The Prince told a reception organised by the two organisations last week: "The car has been at the centre of the design process for quite a long time. "Now we need to put the pedestrian at the centre of the process again."

A new guide to the Government-backed "Building For Life" design scheme published last week also casts doubt on the future of the cul-de-sac. The guide backs a "clear network of streets, courtyards and alleyways" linked to existing routes. "Layouts such as cul-de-sacs with winding roads and the same types of houses can make it more difficult to get around," the guide says. "They also encourage car use rather than walking or cycling."

Hank Dittmar, chief executive of the Prince's Foundation, stressed that the proposals backed by the Prince were about more than the death of the cul-de-sac. He said that other elements would include having a mix of homes, shops and workplaces, more distinctive buildings using local craft and traditions and having a range of different house types and prices.


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