Prince Charles’ dream of an eco-village in Knockroon ‘never made sense’ according to a leading Scottish architect.

It comes after questions were raised when just 31 homes out of a planned 770 were built in eight years.

Now award-winning architect Professor Alan Dunlop says the faux Georgian sustainable houses should never have been put between ‘deprived areas’ like Cumnock and Auchinleck.

He believes money should have been invested in affordable homes to rent, instead of the pioneering eco-village.

The Knockroon project was outlined in 2011 with the hopes that 330 of the homes would be complete by 2017.

But now only a fraction of the houses are complete with residents living in what is being compared to a ‘building site’ instead of the renewable community they were promised.

Alan has now spoken to the Chronicle about how he believes the project never had a chance after being located in Knockroon.

Cumnock Chronicle:

He said: “When it first hit the press that the foundation was trying to build all these eco homes for Knockroon I just didn’t understand how it could ever work, and I still don’t.

“The idea would be putting these great fancy houses in between arguably East Ayrshire’s most deprived areas, Cumnock and Auchinleck, never made sense.

“Economically it is just so strange, who would be buying the houses there? There is not a lot of money in the area.

“Instead of presenting it as an innovative new housing scheme that is relatively expensive for the area, the money should be invested on actual affordable housing.

“It was all based upon the idea that if you produce something that looks like it was constructed in the 18th century that people will just flock to it but that is not the case.

“I’m not surprised this has all came to light again, it makes sense why they would be struggling to find new buyers considering the current ones are apparently living on what you could call a building site.

“You can’t put fancy expensive fake Georgian aesthetic homes on a site in between two incredibly deprived areas and be shocked when it doesn’t work out. It’s really sad news for the people already living there.

“It would make more sense to put up a scheme that might let people in these areas rent from instead of buying these 18th century looking buildings.

“People need homes, this isn’t the way to do it in deprived areas like these.”

Cumnock Chronicle:

Now the entire vision for the community could be axed as it is ‘reviewed and evaluated’ over the next year with 739 houses still unbuilt.

Gordon Neil, deputy executive director of The Prince’s Foundation, said: “The Prince’s Foundation is proud of its work at Knockroon and remains fully committed to realising its vision for the site. A decade has passed since the creation of the masterplan for the site, and much has changed in that time in terms of the local and wider economy.

“As in all long-term construction projects, it is incumbent on us, the developers, to remain flexible and adaptable to changing conditions throughout the build, and we will conduct a review that allows us to ensure we create a development that meets the needs of the community.

“During the first two years of the second phase of the development, we will look to make significant investment into the project.

“The project will use the local supply chain, demonstrating investment into the local community as well as minimising environmental impact through shorter transportation times of materials.

“In line with The Prince’s Foundation’s commitment to offering education and training opportunities where possible, modern apprenticeships will be offered across all trades on the development.

“That all properties on the site have attracted buyers and are subject to occupancy reflects a healthy appetite and demand for this type of development.”