Borders mansion for Prince William?
Oct 16 2004
Laura Elston, Western Mail
THE Prince of Wales is building a new mansion, prompting speculation it could eventually become a country home for Prince William.
Secluded Harewood Park, on the banks of the River Wye, has been chosen as the site for the 10,000sq ft house, which is reported to be costing £3m.
The land near Monmouth is the site of the original Georgian Harewood Park country house, which was demolished in 1959 after being used for training by the SAS and as a hospital during World War Two.
A Clarence House spokesman said, "It's being built very much in the old style, with all the atmosphere and tradition."
Rumours that it may eventually be inhabited by St Andrews University student William were said to be "pure speculation".
But its country location near the Welsh border would suit a 22-year-old prince, who shares his father's keen interest in hunting, shooting, horse-riding and fishing.
"At the moment it's being built very much as investment for the rental market as a letting property," the spokesman said. "It will take four to seven years to build."
Powys-based architect Craig Hamilton was picked by the Prince of Wales to design the grand dwelling in Herefordshire, which will be built with local stone.
Mr Hamilton, from Hundred House, near Llandrindod Wells, has already won awards for his country house designs.
The architect said there had been a huge amount of media interest in the Duchy of Cornwall's plans.
And he added that he was very pleased to be a part of the project.
He said, "I've been working for the Duchy of Cornwall for a long while and this is part of a much larger regeneration project for the Duchy of Lancaster in Herefordshire, which is a great project to be involved in."
Around an hour from Charles' country home Highgrove, the 900-acre property is even closer to the Princess Royal's home, Gatcombe Park.
The Duchy of Cornwall bought the land for £2m in 2000 and the local council has just published the planning details, the Prince's spokesman said. Plans for the main building are believed to include six to eight bedrooms, two reception rooms, an orangery and a boot room.
Ten derelict farm cottages will also be revamped and rented out, as will 15,000sq ft of workshops.
The plans follow calls for Prince Charles to buy a home in Wales. He was challenged to show the people of Wales how much he loves the country by actually living in it, at least for part of the year.
Peter Law, Assembly Member for Blaenau Gwent, believes the prince should lead by example and purchase a home in Wales, rather than booking in at bed and breakfasts or staying in a siding on a Royal train.
Mr Law has said, "The people of Wales would have a lot more respect for him and it would be in the spirit of devolution."
He said he had written to the Prince several times about the issue.
Harold Brooke-Baker, publishing director of Burke's Peerage, said it would be politically attractive for one of the Royal residences to be located in Wales, but he could see no reason why taxpayers would have to pay for it.
He said, "Wales should be the most important part of the Prince's empire.
"The Prince needs the support of Wales and he clearly has a very serious attitude about Wales, but it is also clear he is favourably disposed towards Scotland. He also has a home in the Channel Islands.
"He should make more statements on issues he's fighting for from within Wales itself, not from Scotland or Highgrove in Gloucestershire."
A Clarence House spokesman for Prince Charles said the Prince had regularly attended several events in Wales every year and he usually stayed for a week in the summer.