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Downton Abbey creator in disagreement with Prince Charles

Most know Julian Fellowes as creator of the hit show Downton Abbey, yet he may be gaining another reputation over his disagreement with Prince Charles.

Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall estate has announced plans for a 100 house estate that will back onto author, Thomas Hardy’s property.

As president of the Hardy Society, Lord Fellowes has defended the late author’s home, now for the second time against Prince Charles destroying “Hardy land”.

Max Gate, a Grade I-listed home in Dorchester, Dorset was designed and built by Thomas Hardy, who settled there to write Jude the Obscure, The Mayor of Casterbridge among others.

The Duchy of Cornwall’s plans to develop 100 Edwardian Arts and Crafts-inspired homes on the lot next to Max Gate, now owned by the National Trust.

Lord Fellowes, who lives in the village of Stafford near to Max Gate has always been worried about the history of Hardy being wiped out. Last year he helped stop another large development in Lower Bockhampton, the same location where Hardy set Under the Greenwood Tree and went to school himself.

Lord Fellowes spoke to The Telegraph, saying: “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.

“What stuns me is why all this development comes to Dorchester, I’m not sure why it’s unequally shared among surrounding towns.”

The plans for the new homes have yet to submitted to the local planning authority, so approval may never go through.

“There is always a concern when building is done on green spaces and this is no exception,” said Richard Nicholls, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England to The Telegraph.“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.”

Planning permission will be filed early next year, but a Duchy of Cornwall spokesperson has said the public’s reaction is so far “quite positive”.

 

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