Does Clyst St Mary need four storey Carbuncles?

From a Correspondent:

In 1984, our new King Charles III was the heir apparent, the Prince of Wales, when he openly attacked British architects and  denounced modern British architecture, in his Hampton Court speech, by trashing the proposed design of the extension to the National Gallery with the famous quote:- 

“ . . . . what is proposed is like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.” 

This prompted a great national debate and made many architects think again. 

“For far too long”, said the prince, “it seems to me, some planners and architects have consistently ignored the feelings and wishes of the mass of ordinary people in this country … To be concerned about the way people live, about the environment they inhabit and the kind of community that is created by that environment, should surely be one of the prime requirements of a really good architect.”  

He continued, “For a long time I have felt strongly about the wanton destruction which has taken place in this country in the name of progress; about the sheer unadulterated ugliness and mediocrity of public and commercial buildings, and of housing estates, not to mention the dreariness and heartlessness of so much urban planning.” 

He advised that 1984 was the time and place to sacrifice some profit, if need be, for generosity of vision, for elegance, for dignity; for buildings which would raise our spirits and our faith in commercial enterprise. He spoke of the need to produce buildings of beauty that “lift our spirits”. . . and commented “We should build legacies, not blots, on our landscape.”  

Fast forward four decades and his c-word (‘carbuncle’) continues to be as relevant to outraged local residents, where they have now been confronted with an East Devon District Council Planners’ recommendation to their Planning Committee for Clyst St Mary’s own 2022 carbuncle – namely 40 four-storey apartments in Winslade Park (Application 21/2217/MRES due for a decision on 25th October 2022 at 10.00 hrs via Zoom).  

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Only last month, the Guardian again made reference to the 1984 Prince of Wales’ carbuncle speech and concluded:- 

“In the face of a wilfully retrograde Tory cabinet, bent on burning fossil fuels, lining developers’ pockets and deregulating the planning system, the presence of a climate-conscious, conservation-minded, planning-literate king may turn out to be the unlikely voice of sanity we never knew we needed.” 

In 2022 will those past, noble intentions of today’s King Charles III be a match for the UK’s profit-driven system? 

Clyst St Mary still holds on to the hope that our Sovereign’s words and ideals will reverberate in this small corner of East Devon to encourage elected decision makers to recommend that these developers and architects lance this carbuncle and replace it with a more fitting design for an East Devon historic, rural village?  

“Long Live King Charles III!”