Warehorne, Kent - HRH The Princess Royal visited the village of Warehorne in Kent on 11th December 2019 to officially open English Rural’s new affordable housing development. Recently completed, the small development of four new homes at ‘Goldfield’ provides two houses and two flats that benefit local people. All homes have been made available at rents that are affordable to local people living, working in or with close family connections to the village.
The homes are the result of a partnership with the local community, involving Warehorne Parish Council, Action with Communities in Rural Kent, Ashford Borough Council and English Rural. This is the second scheme to be built in the village by English Rural, the first being four bungalows completed 1995.
The Princess Royal met local residents and viewed two of the affordable homes, before officially opening the development by unveiling a commemorative plaque.
The development secures much needed affordable homes for local people. Like many rural areas, villages across Kent have been affected by higher than average property values and lower than average wages, making it unaffordable for many local people to remain within their home communities close to family and support networks.
Planning restrictions have been agreed that will ensure the homes will always remain affordable and local people with a connection to Warehorne will always take priority as residents.
Commenting on the visit, Martin Collett, English Rural’s Chief Executive said:
“We are pleased that Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal visited our latest development in Kent, where we are committed to working with Parish and Borough Councils. The visit will help to promote the value that small-scale affordable housing developments can bring to villages like Warehorne, providing well-designed homes in partnership with and for the benefit of the community. Affordable rural developments provide a secure and safe place for local people to live, in the communities they serve and support. This is English Rural’s second development in Warehorne – the first being nearly 25 years ago. We are always pleased when villages invite us back into their community. This not only highlights the continuing need for affordable homes but also demonstrates the trust they have in English Rural. The new affordable homes at Goldfield will play an important role in safeguarding a vibrant, active and working village that includes a mixture of age groups and income earners.
We always welcome the opportunity to work with other villages to support them with developing their own affordable homes for local people.”
After meeting local residents and viewing the homes, Her Royal Highness joined invited guests and partners involved in the project over refreshments. Afterwards, a local child presented a posy to The Princess.
Cllr Lee Small, Chairman of Warehorne Parish Council, said:
“The Parish Council was delighted to welcome HRH, The Princess Royal to Warehorne, where she saw first-hand the much-needed affordable homes at Goldfield. This local initiative where the Parish Council has worked closely with English Rural and other key partners to develop affordable homes will benefit local people and the community for years to come. Increasingly, the Parish Council is aware of the housing challenges that face many local households, with market prices being too much to afford in the village. The four new homes will help the community address this challenge.”
Local contractor B.W. May & Son have built the homes at Goldfield which have been funded by English Rural and supported by grant contributions. The homes will be owned and managed by English Rural and can never be sold on the open market. The site is known as a ‘rural exception site’, which means development would not have normally been allowed but an exception to planning policy was made because the homes are designed to be affordable and meet local needs forever.
English Rural have applied the principals of ‘Fabric First’ construction, designing the homes to be highly efficient, whilst also being attractive, spacious and comfortable. High levels of insulation have been used and Air Source Heat Pump technology provide affordable heating and hot water for residents, reducing energy use and keeping their fuel bills low.
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