Poundbury seems to be a bizarre place: King Charles’ vision of how English towns should be. Jimmy McIntosh heads there for the coronation with high expectations but leaves unimpressed. A quirky little essay about a quirky little place.

Much has been written about the first foray into town planning of King Charles III, né His Royal Highness Charles Mountbatten-Windsor, Prince of Wales. It’s either a utopia or a twee hell, depending on who you read. But here’s the top line: the genesis of Poundbury came about in 1987, when West Dorset County Council decided to expand westwards into the fields from the county town of Dorchester. The land had been, since the reign of Edward III in 1337, Duchy of Cornwall land, but rather than sell up to the council for a generous price the Duke of Cornwall, Charles – who had long had an interest in urban development and architecture – agreed to work with them to build his vision of England: a return to tradition, a reaction against estate modernism, the wet dream of a thousand Quinlan Terry fanboys and internet edgelords.