Princess Anne: Build homes in villages not new towns

The Princess Royal has called for new homes to be built in existing villages and market towns, instead of creating sprawling new developments.

Speaking as patron of the English Rural Housing Trust at a housing conference on Friday evening, she said it would be better for existing rural communities and would also be better value for developers than having to create new facilities to go along with the new homes.

‘Is it really necessary to only think in terms of large-scale developments where you might add 10,000 or 15,000 in a block, where you require infrastructure to be installed?’ she asked.

She added: ‘Maybe it isn’t such good value if you have to build in the facilities that need to go with it.

‘You will need a new school, you will need new shops, you will need to create a community centre. But for many of the small-scale developments you already have that.’

At the event in Cheltenham, she added: ‘240,000 houses sounds an awful lot until we identify the amount of villages and market towns there are.’

Andrew George, MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, said in response: ‘The Princess Royal is right. I used to do this kind of work before I was elected. [We need] small developments of five to 15 genuinely affordable homes to meet demonstrable local need in perpetuity on the edges of local villages and small towns.

‘Maybe the ‘garden city’ approach may work in other parts of the country? But the large-scale swamping approach has failed in places like Cornwall.’

Peter Moore, chair of the Rural Housing Alliance and chief executive of Cornwall Rural Housing Association, argued in an Inside Housing column on Friday that the UK needs an effective policy on rural development to safeguard affordable housing.

From Inside Housing

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