The village was built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, and is an experiment of the ideas of Prince Charles, who wished to challenge the post-war trends in town planning. The Prince is known for holding strong views on planning and architecture.
The village is built to a 'traditional' high-density urban pattern, rather than a suburban one, focused on creating an integrated community of shops, businesses, and a mixture of private and social housing; there is no zoning. It's also planned around the people rather than the car. Close attention has been paid to providing a high quality environment, from architecture, through the selection of materials, to the signposts and landscaping. Common areas of the town are maintained by a management company to which all residents belong.