UK & World News
Princess Anne: 'Build New Homes In Villages'
New homes should be built in existing villages and market towns instead of as part of sprawling new developments of up to 15,000 plots, the Princess Royal has said.
She argued it would be better for existing rural communities to take the brunt of the 240,000 new homes needed each year.
Her comments will add fuel to the political debate over how to provide the number of homes needed without damaging the countryside.
Nick Clegg called recently for the Government to be "honest and upfront" about plans to build garden cities in the South East.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that planned cities were a better option than piecemeal developments.
But the Princess, speaking as patron of the English Rural Housing Trust, said: "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 suggested it would be more efficient to build small scale developments in existing communities: "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."
In a speech at a housing conference in Cheltenham, she added: "240,000 houses sounds an awful lot until we identify the amount of villages and market towns there are."
Martin Collett, Operations Director of the English Rural Housing Association, said the Princess Royal had been a long-term advocate of village communities.
"Small, well designed developments of six to eight homes built in partnership with the community can often be the catalyst that keeps local services open.
"Local and national policies should encourage and support the delivery of affordable rural homes."
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