HRH The Princess Royal visited Magdalene Rise, Bolney, Sussex on 11th July 2019 to officially open English Rural’s new affordable housing development. Building work on the 12 new homes at Magdalene Rise has recently been completed and provides a mix of houses and flats that benefit local people.
The homes have been achieved through a community partnership between Bolney Parish Council, Mid-Sussex District Council, Action in Rural Sussex and English Rural. The land for the current site was made available by a local farming family with long-standing connections and involvement in the community.
HRH The Princess Royal met local residents, guests and partners involved in bringing the project to fruition and viewed two of the affordable homes, before officially opening the development by unveiling a commemorative plaque.
The development provides much-needed affordable homes for local people. Like many rural areas, villages in Sussex have been affected by higher than average property values and lower than average wages, making it unaffordable for many local households to remain within their home communities close to family and support networks.
The homes have been made available at an affordable rent, and planning restrictions have ensured that local people with a connection to Bolney will always take priority as residents.
Mum-of-two, Amelia Thomson moves into one of the new homes on Friday 15th June. “I am excited and ready to move,” she commented. Speaking about the new development, she said: “I think it is nice – we are bringing people together who already know each other and we are building another community.”
District council leader Jonathan Ash-Edwards said it was an exciting day for Mid Sussex. “It’s great that with the help of a local landowner, families will be able to live in the village in which they grew up,” he added.
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 Sussex, where we are committed to working with Parish and District Councils. The visit helped to promote the value that small affordable housing developments can bring to villages like Bolney, 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. The new affordable homes in Bolney will play an important role in safeguarding a vibrant, active and working village that includes a mixture of age groups and income earners.”
The homes at Magdalene Rise were built by Borrowdale Construction Homes Ltd. Funding has been provided by English Rural with grant also made available by Homes England, the government agency supporting affordable housing delivery. 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 in perpetuity.
The new homes have been designed to be attractive, spacious and comfortable. Good insulation and Air Source Heat Pump technology provide affordable heating and hot water for residents, reducing energy use and keeping fuel bills low.