Video & Gallery: Princess Royal visits Suffolk housing scheme

A HOUSING scheme which helps villagers onto the property ladder was given the royal seal of approval by Princess Anne yesterday.

A HOUSING scheme which helps villagers onto the property ladder was given the royal seal of approval by Princess Anne yesterday.

The Princess Royal flew into Suffolk to hear about the positive effects affordable homes were having on residents in Nacton.

After landing by helicopter in the grounds of Orwell Park School, the Princess was taken to see Field View – a new development of part-owned and rented sustainable houses.

She was presented with a posy by nine-year-old Rachael Jacobs, who lives in one of the homes, and introduced to county and parish councillors, Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, and housing association officials.

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The Princess gave a short speech before unveiling a plaque to officially name the homes “Moira Constable Cottages” after the late chief executive of the Rural Housing Trust (RHT).

Ms Constable, who campaigned tirelessly for the housing needs of people in rural communities, passed away last year at the age of 65 after a battle with cancer. She endorsed the use of exception sites – those outside planning boundaries – in villages to ensure affordable housing was reserved for local people.

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Princess Anne said: “It wasn’t an easy challenge. Rural housing will always remain an issue which is pretty low down on the general scale of housing development. We need to remain innovative in the way in which we tackle it [developing affordable housing].

“But we do owe Moira a debt of gratitude in our understanding of what can be achieved, so it is a great pleasure to be able to unveil this plaque with her name on it.”

She was then shown round the home of twins Issy and Sophie Sheldrake, who moved in earlier this year. Issy Sheldrake, who bought a 60% share in the house, said the scheme had finally enabled her to get on the property ladder.

Field View was completed by Hastoe Housing Association, which also completed two part-developed schemes the RHT was unable to finish in Lavenham and Peasenhall.

The RHT, of which Princess Anne has been president since 1988, was forced to close down its development arm last year amid the recession.

But it is continuing its campaign to build 50,000 such homes around the country.

Princess Anne returned to Orwell Park School to take part in a seminar on new approaches to achieving sustainable communities.

She then flew to Newmarket to meet members of the Injured Jockeys Fund, which has spent more than �16million helping jockeys whose injuries have forced them to give up riding.

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