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Royal Opening of Affordable Rural Homes in Roxwell, Essex

Roxwell, Essex (September 11th, 2020) — HRH The Princess Royal visited the village of Roxwell in Essex to officially open English Rural’s new affordable housing development on Friday September 11th 2020. Recently completed, this small development of seven new homes at ‘Glebe Meadow’ provides homes that will benefit local people. Five homes have been made affordable to local people living, working in or with close family connections to the village. The remaining two homes have been sold to local people at 75% of open market value – a discount locked in perpetuity.

The local community, the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE), Roxwell Parish Council, Chelmsford City Council, the Chelmsford Diocese and English Rural have worked together to provide the village with a legacy for future generations.

HRH The Princess Royal safely met with residents, dignitaries and partners and viewed two of the affordable homes, before officially opening the development by unveiling a commemorative plaque. The Princess Royal was then presented with a posy of flowers from local resident, Jade Copping, aged 12.

The development secures much needed affordable homes for local people. Like many rural areas, villages across Essex 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 Roxwell will always take priority as residents.

Commenting on the visit, Martin Collett, English Rural’s Chief Executive said: –

“We are delighted that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal was able to visit our latest development in Essex, where we are committed to working with Parish and Borough Councils. The visit helped to promote the value that small-scale affordable housing developments can bring to villages like Roxwell, 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 at Glebe Meadow 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.”

Councillor Chris Pavitt, Chairman of Roxwell Parish Council, said: –

“The Parish Council was delighted to welcome HRH, The Princess Royal to Roxwell, where she saw first-hand the much-needed affordable homes at Glebe Meadow. This local initiative where the Parish Council and Chelmsford City 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 five new affordable homes will help the community address this challenge.”

Local contractor Rose Builders have constructed the homes at Glebe Meadow which have been funded by English Rural and supported by grant contributions. The affordable 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 has 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 provides affordable heating and hot water for residents, reducing energy use and keeping their fuel bills low.

You can hear HRH The Princess Royal talk about the need for affordable rural housing in this video:

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