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HRH The Princess Royal tells Gloucestershire conference that we all have a role to play to save rural communities

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 27, 2014

HRH The Princess Royal speaking at the National Affordable Housing Seminar

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Keeping young families in rural areas is vital for the future of the countryside, The Princess Royal has said.

Her Royal Highness spoke at the Rural Housing National Conference 2014 in Cheltenham last week.

Princess Anne, who is patron of the English Rural Housing Association, said keeping and creating good facilities in rural communities was an important factor when building more homes in the county.

House-builders should also be tackled over numerous supermarket plans.

The National Housing Federation believes 240,000 homes need to be built every year to meet demand in the country.

She said: “Our battle is to argue the toss with the big house-builders, that there is value. That maybe it is good value if you build the facilities that go with building a community.

“We need the space to do that, that needs to be a part of our plan.

“It’s about giving confidence to people that you can allow them to stay where they want to stay.

“240,000 houses sounds an awful lot until we identify the amount of villages and market towns there are.”

She said good quality broadband and mobile coverage as well as access to healthcare were essential for people in rural areas, especially youngsters who should have the option to work nearby.

Citizens’ Advice Bureaus and other similar services were also vital to communities and it was important to keep carers in rural and village accommodation, she said.

The conference at Pittville Pump Room was jointly organised by the Rural Services Network and Rural Housing Alliance. It marks a new partnership between the two groups.

The Princess was joined by speakers from the National Housing Federation, Chartered Institute of Housing and affordable rural housing providers.

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