Royal Visit to Nacton celebrates past and future of affordable rural housing

20 October 2010

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President, Rural Housing Trust officially opened ‘Moira Constable Cottages,’ an affordable housing development by Hastoe Housing Association at Field View, Nacton, nr Ipswich on Thursday 14 October.

The homes are a tribute to a true pioneer of village housing, Moira Constable, who, as Chief Executive of the Rural Housing Trust, brought about the development of hundreds of local village housing projects across rural England. Moira died in 2009.

Her Royal Higness The Princess Royal says a few words about Moira ConstableHastoe has worked with Nacton Parish Council and Suffolk ACRE since 2006 to bring this development of six homes for affordable rent and shared ownership to fruition. Built on a rural exception site, the scheme provides homes for local people who are otherwise priced out of the market. The homes will remain affordable in perpetuity.

The Orwell Park Estate made the land available for the scheme and Suffolk Coastal District Council were also a key partner. Funding was provided by the Homes and Communities Agency with the remainder invested by Hastoe.

The design is sympathetic to the village and the green eaves reflect the character of Estate properties in the community.

Margaret Clark, Chairman, Hastoe said: “We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness to Nacton to commemorate the achievements of Moira Constable and to celebrate the success of the local community in developing new homes to meet local need. This scheme demonstrates Hastoe’s commitment to build on Moira’s legacy to ensure that rural communities have access to the housing that they need.”

Sir Edward Greenwell, Chairman, the Rural Housing Trust said: “Moira made a stupendous contribution to rural housing over several decades and was extremely influential in pioneering the rural exception site policy, which has provided thousands of affordable homes in rural communities across England. The Trust is delighted that she is remembered in this way, at a scheme that exemplifies community support and meets local needs.”

Cllr Robert Giles, Chairman of Nacton Parish Council said: “The Parish Council were delighted to welcome everybody to Nacton for this exciting event. We are all very pleased to have six local families in these excellent homes which have fitted so well into the village.”

Cllr Chris Slemmings, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing commented: "Suffolk Coastal and other Suffolk councils owe a great debt to Moira Constable and in these difficult times we should all do what we can to defend the principles that inspired her in her successful campaigns to bring more much-needed affordable homes to our rural communities."

At the ceremony, a posy was presented by resident Rachael Jacobs, aged 9, and resident Isobel Sheldrake, aged 28 welcomed The Princess Royal into her home for a tour.

Isobel Sheldrake said: “This home has made such a difference to me and I was so pleased to show it to Her Royal Highness. The opportunity to buy a share in this property and get a foot on the housing ladder in my home village is fantastic and would be impossible for me on the open market.”

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal gives her keynote address at the seminarFollowing the opening ceremony, Her Royal Highness joined guests at Orwell Park School for refreshments and then gave the keynote address at a seminar, hosted by Hastoe, on ‘Innovation in rural housing.’

Hastoe invited key individuals in the rural sector, including councillors and officers of parish and district councils in the region, to discuss how rural communities can address the shortage of affordable homes and especially to consider new solutions, especially vital in the in the current economic climate.

Other speakers included The Rev’d Canon Graham Hedger, Diocesan Secretary (Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) and Cllr Chris Slemmings, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Suffolk Coastal District Council.

Margaret Clark added: “In the current climate, it is essential that we look for new ways of providing much-needed affordable rural housing. This seminar was an opportunity to explore how we can help rural communities, by using the tried and tested rural exceptions policy and by developing new mechanisms to make sure that rural needs are given sufficient recognition locally and nationally.”


Contact: Rebecca Beaumont, Communications & PR Executive, Hastoe on 020 8973 0437 or

Notes to the editor
The Rural Housing Trust, a charity, was an advocate and developer of affordable rural housing before winding down in 2009. HRH The Princess Royal has been President since 1988.
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