Campaigners have backed the Princess Royal for challenging the development of large-scale new towns and instead highlighting the benefits of limited expansion of rural villages.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England welcomed her intervention, saying it was important to have a "living countryside" with villages which grew "organically".
We want a living countryside, not a countryside of commuter villages or retirement ghettos. The important thing is that villages should grow organically, with the consent of those who live there, and that priority is given to creating genuinely affordable homes for people with strong employment or family ties to the area.
The way to do this is, wherever possible, is to have a community-led process which identifies suitable sites for inclusion in local and neighbourhood plans. With this in place, development is more likely to be well located and high quality, and therefore win local support.
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The Sherlock actor made the comment while he received an award for his humanitarian work.