RESIDENTS of Poundbury are still enjoying life on the development as it nears its halfway stage.

Back in 2003 Oxford Brookes University carried out a survey of the attitudes of Poundbury residents.

At that stage there were only around 500 people living there and the university carried out a repeat exercise last year to canvas the views of more than 2,000 residents, some of whom have lived at Poundbury for 20 years.

Dorchester estate director for the Duchy of Cornwall Simon Conibear said that while waiting for the university to sift through the results he began to worry whether they would yield the same impressive results as the previous survey or if the novelty of the urban extension experiment might have worn off for some. However, he was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Mr Conibear said: “It was therefore with some relief that I read the results of the latest survey.

“In fact most of the indices were showing an improvement.

“Three quarters of all respondents are either in favour of or unperturbed by the mixed tenure housing. There is a sign that car ownership levels are decreasing slightly, while the proportion of people using cars to travel to work is down from 65 per cent to 48 per cent.

“The most striking difference is the increased number of working people who now also live in Poundbury – up from 15 per cent to 30 per cent – meaning more sustainable patterns of living are possible.

“There is a general increase in satisfaction levels with shopping, health facilities, transport, policing and leisure facilities.

“Over 85 per cent of respondents are impressed with the friendliness of the community.”

Poundbury celebrated its 20th anniversary last year and, as the development reaches its halfway mark, Mr Conibear said the residents could look forward to exciting additions over the next few years.

He also promised to listen to the results of the survey that indicated what else people wanted to see in their community.

He said: “The centrepiece, Queen Mother Square, will be completed over the next three years.

“We have a clear steer from the survey of those things which people still want, a post office and bank for example. That is something positive to work on.”

Mr Conibear said that the only negative the survey seemed to reveal was a dislike among residents of the gravel pavements.

He said: “They are there because they look nicer than blacktop, they discourage skateboarders and they are grippy in the ice.

“However we are clearly going to have to think seriously about alternatives in future phases of the development.”