It can be really difficult to find your first home in Bucks, but a project to sort that in rural areas got a royal seal of approval this week.

Princess Anne was at Bloomfield Cottages in Bellingdon, near Chesham, on Tuesday (July 14) seeing one of the many affordable rural homes schemes in the county.

Jean Fox from Community Impact Bucks, which runs the project, said: “These rural exception schemes always help the villages in a small way. They help to sustain them, they help to provide homes for people who’d otherwise be forced to leave the parish and often those people are on a lower income and work in village services like the shop, pub or agriculture.”

The Princess’ visit came just days after Rural Housing Week, a campaign led by the National Housing Federation to raise national awareness of the issues surrounding the lack of affordable homes in the countryside.

Ms Fox has championed the development of more than 200 new affordable rural homes in Bucks over the last 11 years.

She added: “Most people living in rural communities, whatever their circumstances, fully appreciate the need for sensible, sympathetic and sustainable development which enable younger people to remain within their communities, close to family and friends and working in local services.

“We all want sustainable communities but affordable housing is often the missing piece of the jigsaw. It is places like Bloomfield Cottages that complete the picture”

The Princess Royal opened the scheme officially by planting an apple tree in the community orchard there.

It is as part of her role as patron of the English Rural Housing Association.

Community Impact Bucks was formed in 2010 and is the Rural Community Council, Volunteer Centre and the Council for Voluntary Services for Buckinghamshire.

For more information on the chairty’s Rural Housing Enabler visit www.communityimpactbucks.org.uk.