Resident of Prince Charles’ designer village Poundbury is ordered to strip back floral display

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A heartbroken resident of Prince Charles’s designer village of Poundbury has been ordered to strip back a floral display outside her home.  

Alexandra Wilson-Jones said she is ‘heartbroken’ after being told that her plants, which include a floral archway and various flowers, will need to be reduced before the end of January 2023, or the Duchy of Cornwall will remove them.

Ms Wilson-Jones, 49, received a letter from the Duchy asking her to remove her plants due to them being there without approval. 

Following a meeting with the Duchy, she was told that there were too many plants that looked out of place from the rest of the courtyard.

The Duchy of Cornwall says that while it welcomes moves to brighten the area, the plants are being stored in a communal courtyard ‘without approval’ and have received complaints ‘about the large collection have been raised by local residents’.

Alexandra Wilson-Jones said she is 'heartbroken' after being told that her plants, which include a floral archway and various flowers

Alexandra Wilson-Jones said she is ‘heartbroken’ after being told that her plants, which include a floral archway and various flowers

Following a meeting with the Duchy, she was told that there were too many plants that looked out of place from the rest of the courtyard

 Following a meeting with the Duchy, she was told that there were too many plants that looked out of place from the rest of the courtyard

Ms Wilson-Jones (pictured), 49, received a letter from the Duchy asking her to remove her plants due to them being there without approval

Ms Wilson-Jones (pictured), 49, received a letter from the Duchy asking her to remove her plants due to them being there without approval

However, Alexandra has called the situation ‘heartbreaking’ and argues that the Duchy’s intervention goes against the Prince of Wales’ vision for Poundbury. 

The village is a passion project for Prince Charles with the aim of creating new towns and cities that ‘would break the mould of conventional’ and ‘create an attractive place for people to live, work and play,’ the prince said.

Alexandra told DorsetLive: ‘The Duchy have told me to significantly modify and reduce my planting down, and if I haven’t done it by the end of January, it will need to be removed entirely. So that puts me in a very difficult position, and it’s my responsibility.

‘They’re not prepared to help me at all. They’re not offering an opportunity to provide anywhere to relocate to. They’re just simply saying that will be something that I would have to do myself.’

Alongside her belief that she is not receiving enough help from the Duchy to remove the plants, or consider any of her suggestions, she also claims previous proposals did not make clear to residents the rules around owning plants.

She said: ‘No provisions have been made in the layout of these properties to have a garden. The majority of the plants will have to go. So they want to look at significantly reducing but they’re not prepared to do anything at all to help me, it’s all my responsibility. They’re not offering any alternatives that I’ve suggested.’

However, Alexandra has called the situation 'heartbreaking' and argues that the Duchy's intervention goes against the Prince of Wales' vision for Poundbury

However, Alexandra has called the situation ‘heartbreaking’ and argues that the Duchy’s intervention goes against the Prince of Wales’ vision for Poundbury

Pictured: An aerial view of Poundbury. The village is a passion project for Prince Charles with the aim of creating new towns and cities that 'would break the mould of conventional' and 'create an attractive place for people to live, work and play,' the prince said

Pictured: An aerial view of Poundbury. The village is a passion project for Prince Charles with the aim of creating new towns and cities that ‘would break the mould of conventional’ and ‘create an attractive place for people to live, work and play,’ the prince said

Pictured: Alexandra Wilson-Jones's correspondence with the Duchy

Pictured: Alexandra Wilson-Jones’s correspondence with the Duchy

Alexandra, who is retired, strongly feels that the decision to remove the plant directly goes against the vision that Prince Charles has for the village of Poundbury. 

She also feels that it breaks community spirit after she received positive comments from her neighbours about her plants.

She explains: ‘It’s heartbreaking. For a start, it would be extremely expensive because it was expensive anyway to bring the collection here.

‘But if you start reducing down gardens that are enhancing any community thinking, it’s backward thinking. More so than anything else, it is in complete contrast to what His Royal Highness would encourage. If he knew about this, he would intervene.’

She has also expressed that she is seemingly the only one in the area being told to remove her plants, despite her neighbours owning plants. As a result, Alexandra says she feels targeted.

‘I think it’s terribly unfair what they’re doing,’ she said. ‘I think it’s backward thinking.’ She added: ‘I think it goes against the whole vision and everything that His Royal Highness stands for – he’s the patron of quite a number of horticultural societies.’

She has also expressed that she is seemingly the only one in the area being told to remove her plants, despite her neighbours owning plants. As a result, Alexandra says she feels targeted

She has also expressed that she is seemingly the only one in the area being told to remove her plants, despite her neighbours owning plants. As a result, Alexandra says she feels targeted

Pictured: Some houses on the Poundbury estate. She added: 'I think it goes against the whole vision and everything that His Royal Highness stands for - he's the patron of quite a number of horticultural societies'

Pictured: Some houses on the Poundbury estate. She added: ‘I think it goes against the whole vision and everything that His Royal Highness stands for – he’s the patron of quite a number of horticultural societies’

Pictured: Queen Mother Square in Poundbury. Alexandra claims that the Duchy can allow four or five plants in the area, but that the plants should provide enough access to homes, garages and parking bays

Pictured: Queen Mother Square in Poundbury. Alexandra claims that the Duchy can allow four or five plants in the area, but that the plants should provide enough access to homes, garages and parking bays

Alexandra claims that the Duchy can allow four or five plants in the area, but that the plants should provide enough access to homes, garages and parking bays. However, she says her plants do not block residents’ access to their homes, driveways or parking spaces, and she has no intention of causing any problems.

‘The garden is not causing any obstruction,’ she said. ‘It doesn’t obstruct the road. It just simply blocks my garage, and I don’t have a car.’ She also argues that the courtyard outside of her home is large enough to fit a jumbo aircraft – emphasising that her plants do not take up the space.

‘You can park a Boeing 747 in this courtyard – it’s huge,’ she said.

She adds that she has not once received a complaint from emergency services or delivery companies regarding obstruction to the road. ‘There’s no concern being raised from Dorset waste partnership or the ambulance service.’ She also explained that the Duchy received complaints about her plants from a resident, but ‘not any organisation, not fire or ambulance service, or Tesco or any of the delivery companies.’

She adds that she has not once received a complaint from emergency services or delivery companies regarding obstruction to the road

She adds that she has not once received a complaint from emergency services or delivery companies regarding obstruction to the road

Alexandra has been living in Poundbury since February last year. The decision to move to the area came after her mother sadly died, and Alexandra took to gardening as a way to cope with her grief.

‘When I lost my mum, gardening very much kept me alive,’ she explained. ‘It stopped be from going through a depression during bereavement and it really helped me so much for my general health and my mental health.’

She said that people can ’embrace gardening in a way that actually helps people, so there’s nothing negative about anything like this.’

Alexandra and the Duchy have been in touch to come to a solution, but overall she is displeased with the decision.

A spokesman for the Duchy of Cornwall said: ‘We are aware of an issue where a large collection of privately owned plants are being stored in a communal courtyard without approval. We welcome moves to enhance the appearance and environmental diversity of courtyards, however these need to be of an appropriate scale and nature, recognising that the courtyards are designed mainly to provide pedestrian and vehicular access to homes, garages and parking bays.

‘We are aware that complaints about the large collection have been raised by local residents and we will continue to work with the owner of the plants and the relevant developer to achieve a suitable outcome.’

Dev

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