Monday, 24 February 2014 14:43

Princess calls for more rural homes

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Princess calls for more rural homes

MORE village homes must be built to ease Britain's housing crisis, the Princess Royal has warned.

Princess Anne delivered the keynote speech at the national affordable rural housing conference held in Cheltenham on Friday (21 February).

Smaller developments of 6-12 rural homes were preferable to larger scale developments, she told delegates at Pitville Pump Room.

The Princess attended the event – jointly organised by the Rural Services Network and the Rural Housing Alliance – in her capacity as patron of the English Rural Housing Association.

Building in in existing villages was cheaper and would encourage younger rural families to stay, rather than moving out to find affordable housing in cities, she said.

The Princess's speech generated widespread media coverage, including a front-page story in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday (22 February).

The conference also marked the launch of a new partnership.

It brings together the Rural Services Network with the Rural Housing Alliance to promote a collaborative national approach to advocating the need for affordable rural housing.

Both organisations believe the lack of affordable homes is a problem affecting the wellbeing of rural communities across England.

Higher property values, limited investment in affordable homes, wealthy incomers and low paid local employment opportunities have all contributed to the current crisis facing rural areas.

Rural Housing Alliance chairman Peter Moore said the two organisations would work together for the broader benefit of rural communities.

"Our collective voice and potential to make a difference at national, regional and local levels is significantly greater when we work together."

Rural Services Network chief executive Graham Biggs said collective efforts would make a real difference to the challenges of rural housing.

The lack of affordable rural housing had been a longstanding concern across the network's membership and the partnership was an opportunity to act on this, said Mr Biggs.

People in this conversation

  • Guest (Jeremy Chamberlayne)

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    Small, "organic growth" developments in villages are sensible. In many cases, redundant farm sites are appropriate, as they usually benefit from services and are often rather an eyesore.

    It s a job for small local builders, rather than volume builders, who invariably are looking for large open fields, to maximise their scale of operation. This is a better solution than identifying service villages for larger scale development.

    from Church Road, Gloucester, Gloucestershire GL2, UK
  • Guest (Derrick Dyas)

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    As Chair of one of the Housing Associations who was at the Conference, an excellent event, can I encourage everyone to get to grips with this outstanding issue. Few people in rural areas want more houses within their villages and parishes but the truth is that local people are being priced out of the local market and if you are not careful, villages will simply dies or become much sought after dormitory enclaves for the townies who shop outside.
    Local housing for local people can be achieved.

    from Dorridge, West Midlands, UK
  • Guest (Michael Burt)

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    I would agree with the premise that villages are being abandoned as far as house building is concerned. This has happened since the abandonment of the RSS. New district plans are concentrating large numbers of houses in the towns, this will make villages less sustainable .

    from Okeford Fitzpaine, Dorset DT11, UK
  • Guest (robert cattle)

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    will the princes royal please answer the question
    "what is a sensible population for England for example"???????????
    just a number..no and or buts
    and if she can't answer i'm sure her father will give her a guide!

    from Lastingham, North Yorkshire YO62, UK
  • Small scale organic growth by local builders maintains balance of supporting jobs and small businesses with having enough money to build the right amount of houses and provide essential infrastructure and services, without damaging the rural environment we reassure so highly. Balance enables community spirit to grow and enhance quality of life for residents. The national drive to use house-building to give a short term sense of "growth", hiding the burdens that follow, needs to change.

    from Welbourn, Lincolnshire LN5, UK
  • Guest (Diane Blackman)

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    Who will stump up the money to build the much-needed houses? Not the Government, it seems. Not the Princess Royal. So who? People have been holding conferences and tut-tutting about the desperate rural housing situatioin, but nobody puts their money where their mouth is. Sites have been found, affordable local housing need identified, but viability? Seemingly impossible. How marvellous it would be to hear a practical solution for once, instead of all the rhetoric.

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