GALLERY: HRH The Princess Royal officially opens city centre fire station development

The Princess Royal visits Parkside Place Cambridge. To officially open Cambridgeshire Fire and resc

The Princess Royal visits Parkside Place Cambridge. To officially open Cambridgeshire Fire and rescue service's new Fire Station and Hundred Houses Society affordable living. The Princess royal meets St Matthew's School pupils Douglas Ashworth and Serena Blackwood. Photo: CFRS/PhilMynott - Credit: Archant

The Princess Royal followed her visit to March Neale-Wade Academy today (Wednesday) by officially opening a new city centre development in Cambridge.

Princess Anne unveiled plaques at the new Parkside Place Community Fire and Rescue Station and Hundred Houses Society affordable housing scheme Chester House, located on the same site.

HRH was greeted by Cambridgeshire civic dignitaries and was then welcomed onto the station by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer Graham Stagg and Chairman of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority Sir Peter Brown.

The Princess enjoyed a tour of the fire station and housing development, meeting fire service staff and residents.

Schoolchildren from St Matthew’s Primary School and Parkside Federation Academies, who created artwork for the fire station, also met Princess Anne, and the children of two firefighters presented her with a posy.

CFO Graham Stagg said: “It was an honour to meet The Princess Royal and to mark the official opening of this building, which has been over a decade in the making.

“We hope by meeting firefighters, community safety workers and our support staff based at the fire station that The Princess Royal has had a good insight into not just the operational service we provide for Cambridge but also how preventing fires in the community is just as important in this modern fire and rescue service.”

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Sir Peter Brown said: “It was an absolute pleasure to welcome HRH Princess Anne to our state-of-the-art fire station and to mark the official opening of a project we are all incredibly proud of.

“It has been a real team effort with our partners to create this development and that theme has continued on today as it pleased us to see so many organisations join in what has been a momentous celebration.”

Fire crews moved to the new fire station, which is built on the same site as the former Cambridge station, in June 2013, following the completion of the two-year-building project. Parkside Place residential development, which provides 100 new homes including 39 affordable flats managed by Hundred Houses Society, was finished in 2014.

Addenbrooke’s worker Rebecca O’Shaughnessy and her husband Steven, who works for Cambridge University, proudly welcomed HRH The Princess Royal into their Hundred Houses Society affordable home today.

Chris Jackson, Chief Executive of Hundred Houses Society, said: “I’m delighted the Princess Royal had a chance to see how Hundred Houses is providing homes for local people who have been priced out of the Cambridge market, particularly for key workers such as Mrs O’Shaughnessy.

“The Princess was interested to learn that the O’Shaughnessy’s found their new home warm and conveniently close to work, when they previously had to travel 45 minutes each way. I think Princess Anne appreciated how important it is to provide affordable homes in cities such as Cambridge.”

Members of the Encore Estate Management team, which took over management of Parkside Place from developers Grosvenor in 2013, also met HRH.

Carole Kelly, Encore’s Estate Manager for the development, commented: “The official opening by HRH The Princess Royal was an important event for those who live here and we were only too happy to ensure the site looked great not just for the visit but for all residents and tenants all year round.

“It was a great honour for the team, including Head Porter Matt Place and Porter Ben Phillips, to be presented to HRH The Princess Royal. Matt and Ben provide a friendly face and assistance to all the residents and we’re happy they were able to provide this to Princess Anne too.”

Following the visit, guests enjoyed refreshments and a buffet to mark the occasion.