My most recent article for The Critic was on Tornagrain, a new development project outside Inverness. It was one of my more enjoyable and interesting assignments, not least because I stayed overnight and was introduced to the complexities of urban development, a field I didn’t know much about (although I have since discovered that quite a few landed estates are doing it, quite apart from the Duchy of Cornwall).
What lives in the mind is how long and difficult the process is, and how little support the state gives – in this case Moray Estates had to pay for the road and basic infrastructure before beginning. Yet the state benefits by getting the housing at someone else’s expense.
It looks, and is, traditional in design terms, but this is not ideological, but because it’s what people want and the landowners are committed to community involvement and support.