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Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Opinion: Fit for a king, but out of touch with reality

King Charles, a monarchical-environmental pioneer, took no time to flaunt his sustainable town, Poundbury, but has not publicly discussed how expensive and unaffordable this option is for average-income Brits and Americans.
Che Womack
King Charles took no time to flaunt his sustainable town, Poundbury, but has not publicly discussed how expensive and unaffordable this option is for average-income Brits and Americans.

King Charles III has shined a new light on British monarchies by pioneering environmental policies in the United Kingdom. The new monarch endorsed a £1.2 million fully sustainable town at Poundbury, a town that has been in the making for three decades.

A development spearheaded by the Duke of Cornwall, Prince William, and endorsed by King Charles III, is now breaking traditional housing developments around the world.

“When I sent on this venture, I was determined that Poundbury would break the mold of conventional housing development in this country,” said King Charles III. “Many people said that it could never succeed, but I am happy to say that the skeptics were wrong.”

The King was quoting Prince William, the Duke of Cornwall’s, website. While the king has been the face of this project, Prince William has taken majority responsibility for Poundbury’s development.

While many have praised the monarchy for its environmental policy focus, in this post-Elizabethan regime, British critics have questioned the affordability and optics behind Poundbury.

Widely known British critic and reporter, Hugh Aldersey-Williams, verbalized his criticism when the Poundbury project was fairly new.

“An embarrassing anachronism as the new century dawns,” said Aldersey-Williams.

Similar critiques were also made, more recently, of Poundbury. Andy Spain, a blogger for ArchDaily, called the sustainable town, “fake, heartless, authoritarian and grimly cute.”

These excerpts seem like shallow, ad hominem attacks on Poundbury and the monarchy, but there is a foundation for arguments that challenge Poundbury’s development. Bevan Shields, an editor for The Sydney Morning Herald, recently visited Poundbury to give a contemporary take on where Poundbury stands.

“For a few hours after arriving [at Poundbury], I started to wonder whether they might have a point,” said Shields. “A first encounter with the rambling layout and collision of architectural themes can be as disorienting as stepping out into the sunlight after watching a movie in a dark cinema.”

Where critics gave withering reviews on Poundbury that focused on the aesthetics and size of the sustainable town, their critiques were vacant with objective scrutinization. Any average earning Brit, or American (who pays attention to monarchical affairs), would want to know how much money and time it takes to build said sustainable housing around the world.

The development of Poundbury cost a total of 1.2 British pound Sterlings, equivalent to 1.5 million U.S. dollars. 1.5 million dollars in 1993 equates to roughly 3.1 million U.S. dollars today.

The average American makes just north of 60,000 U.S. dollars, 1.8% of 3.1 million dollars.

Environmental revolutions have now taken the forefront of global policy. Global constituencies, especially among the younger generations, are urging their elected officials to manage the climate and to rid themselves of policies that will negatively affect the environment.

King Charles III is not an elected official, he is a king. His status, and the billions, if not trillions, of British pounds he has access to allow the king to build up sustainable villages and towns and to advocate for environmental constructions such as Poundbury but is not attainable for everyday people.

Whether inflation, the war in Ukraine, or natural disasters taking place around the world, people do not have time to focus on monumental projects that protect the environment. They are struggling to put food on the table, gas in their cars, and roofs over their heads.

But there is some positive to come out of Poundbury, regardless of critiques coming from its infancy.

Poundbury’s citizens are in complete opposition to Poundbury’s criticism. Blake Holt, the chairman of Poundbury’s residents’ association believes Poundbury’s criticisms come from people who dislike success.

“Most of the criticism is typical of what we tend to have in this country–a group of people who always want to criticize success,” said Holt. “We’ve got to be careful to avoid a Utopian expectation of this place because it’s inevitable that if you build something on this scale that is so innovative, some things will go wrong from time to time.”

Whether innovative or unrealistic, American taxpayers have to admire the “first climate king’s” persistence to create sustainable housing in England. With raging wildfires and bicoastal hurricanes, Americans are eager to see if wealthy politicians and elected officials take similar strides to save our planet and maintain its finite resources.

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About the Contributor
CJ Womack
CJ Womack, Staff Reporter
Ché Womack Jr. (CJ) is a first semester staff reporter on The Hornet. After freelancing on Substack and writing his own political-opinion pieces, CJ joined The Hornet to further develop his journalistic abilities. CJ is the producer for The Hornet’s podcast, ‘Around The Hornet,’ and produces two other podcasts: "Two Nobodies With A Mic" and "Cut The Noise." He is interested in pursuing a career in journalism, endeavoring to be a political commentator for any major news corporation.

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