Sustainability philosophy

The Prince of Wales and current Duke of Cornwall has been an influential spokesperson on the topic of climate change for around five decades now, and his ethos of sustainable land stewardship is reflected throughout Nansledan and the Duchy of Cornwall estate.

Through its activities, the Duchy of Cornwall aims to generate positive impacts and value over the long term, balancing environmental, social and economic needs.

Nansledan has been designed to be an exemplary and highly sustainable community by providing mixed-income housing, workspace, local shops and community facilities within walkable neighbourhoods, set in a diverse and active environment for the local community which greatly enhances local biodiversity.

Summer fair at Nansledan.

The approach is holistic, enabling low carbon lifestyles through the way Nansledan has been designed and built, ranging from the use of local materials to encouraging local food production.

You can read more about the Duchy’s sustainability strategy for Nansledan below.

Environmental sustainability

The Duchy is significantly enriching the ecology of Nansledan in line with its Natural Capital project, which aims to increase stocks of natural capital across the Duchy’s estate.

At Nansledan, this approach is expected to lead to an overall increase in habitat of around 24%, and an increase in hedgerows of almost 50%. This far exceeds Cornwall Council’s requirement for developments to provide 10% Biodiversity Net Gain in line with the Environment Bill. The Duchy’s figures have been reviewed by the County Ecologist, Natural England and the Environment Agency.

South Devon cattle grazing Pras TrewolekThis increase is being achieved through a variety of measures focused on retaining or replacing and enhancing key habitats, with wildflower meadows, tree and shrub planting, parkland, orchards, wetlands, ponds and community allotments to promote local food production.

In total, Nansledan will provide over 1.2 million square meters of natural and open space for the community, which is equivalent to around 180 full sized football pitches and eight times Cornwall Council’s usual guidance on open space for a community of this size.

Pras Trewolek (Trewolek Meadows) at Nansledan

This includes Pras Trewolek (Trewolek Meadow), where the Duchy has planted 30 hectares of wildflower rich grasslands grazed by South Devon cattle, and laid 3.7 kilometres of pathways to create a rich natural habitat for wildlife that local people can enjoy.

Tree planting at Nansledan

The Chapel Stream and wooded valley will be part of a network of green corridors with new planting to connect local neighbourhoods, and new playgrounds and playing fields promote outdoor exercise.

Nestbox at Nansledan.

In urban areas wildlife is being encouraged with the use of built-in nestboxes for birds (right), which the Duchy has been pioneering nationally with the RSPB, aiming for one nestbox per dwelling on average across all Duchy developments.

Bee bricks (below) made from 75% Cornish china clay waste provide sites for solitary bees, and flowering fruit trees and herb beds attract pollinators and provide tree-lined ‘edible streets’ for the community.

Bee brick and urban planting at Nansledan

Since the start of development in 2014, all of Nansledan’s buildings have taken a ‘fabric first’ approach with a high performance thermal ‘envelope’ within a traditional architectural style that reduces heat loss, energy costs and emissions, and makes homes cheaper to run.

The use of locally-sourced materials like Cornish slate and granite is helping to reduce embedded carbon to levels that already exceed RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge sustainability targets.

In line with the Duchy of Cornwall’s own Zero Carbon Strategy, and the UK’s Government’s commitment to decarbonise the economy by 2050, Nansledan is embracing new technologies and carbon-efficient methods of design and construction, trailing new materials and sharing best practice.

Solar slates at NansledanNansledan’s nursery and neighbouring shops and offices will use ground source heat pumps, reducing annual carbon emissions by around 84% compared with traditional gas boilers. Solar slates (right) have been trailed on a number of properties and are planned for future phases.

Garages already include ducting for electric vehicle charging, and a series of communal charging points are planned for fast charging electric vehicles in commercial squares.

Social sustainability

Nansledan is creating an integrated community with homes and facilities to suit the needs of people from different backgrounds and at different stages of their lives.

With up to 4,000 new homes including 30% affordable housing for local people across a wide range of house types, Nansledan is making a major contribution towards Cornwall’s housing needs and the social cohesion of Newquay and the surrounding area.

All of Nansledan’s homes are architect-designed with affordable housing interspersed with open market properties so that they are indistinguishable from one another.

Street scene at NansledanThe main purpose of Nansledan is to respond to local housing needs and by doing so create a strong sense of place that is occupied by a local resident population, many of whom are already committed to low carbon patterns of living.

All of the affordable housing is allocated to local people and almost three quarters of open market homes (72%) in Nansledan have been bought by local people (defined as people with a Cornish postcode), with almost half (46%) bought by people in the Newquay postcode area. Holiday letting is not permitted.

As with all its sustainable communities, the Duchy of Cornwall has invested significantly in public facilities including a brand new primary school for 420 pupils, new offices and shops to attract new businesses, Newquay Orchard (a successful community interest company on Duchy land), community allotments and more. Nansledan is proving a magnet for small businesses, many of them start-ups and artisan in nature.Street scene at Nansledan

A nursery school will open in 2022 and a new care home is planned, boosting adult social care provision in the area. A GP surgery, pharmacy, Care Home and Extra Care retirement homes are also planned for the next 2-3 years.

The Duchy is investing significantly in critical social and physical infrastructure with roads, paths and cycle routes linking Nansledan to Newquay, taking pressure off neighbouring settlements and reinforcing local public transport links. Work is due to start on Market Street, the commercial heart of Nansledan and the first new high street to be built in circa 150 years, in 2023.

Economic sustainability

As part of its sustainable ambitions, Nansledan aims to provide an economic microclimate that supports its community for the long term, with an ambition to deliver at least one job per household, or around 4,000 in total.

The aim is to diversify local employment across a range of sectors, enable people to live and work in the same place, and help tackle Newquay’s highly seasonal and predominantly low wage visitor economy.

Socialising at Nansledan

Nansledan also spreads the economic benefits of development to other parts of Cornwall and the South West. Slate and granite for Nansledan comes from Cornish quarries and Nansledan supports 170 construction jobs locally, and a further 256 in the supply chain, with apprentices and finishers working across the trades on site.

Once fully developed, Nansledan is expected to have increased the local working age population by more than 6,200 people, and increased the local resident population by 8,800 people.

This will boost local household expenditure by around £110 million per year and generate some £75 million of additional Council Tax receipts for Cornwall Council over a 10-year period, as well as New Homes Bonus revenues to support delivery of public services in Cornwall.

(All photos by Hugh Hastings apart from Pras Trewolek gateway, by Carly Nunn).


Find out more

The sustainability strategy for Nansledan is set out and governed by the Nansledan Design Manual, which includes the Nansledan Pattern Book, Green Infrastructure Strategy and Highway Key Design Details. You can view and download each of these documents by following the links below.

Design Manual


Design Manual: Pattern Book


Design Manual: Green Infrastructure


Design Manual: Highways