Princess Anne hails £3million social housing project at official opening in Bury St Edmunds

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The Princess Royal officially opened a £3.1million affordable housing project in Bury St Edmunds today (December 1).

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The Havebury Housing development of 33 houses and flats on the Priors Estate is now fully occupied, with a range of shared ownership and affordable rented properties.

Princess Anne was invited to officially open the Perry Barn Close development and met with a range of local dignitaries and current tenants before unveiling a plaque at the nearby All Saints Church.

She said: “It is always a pleasure to see projects like this come to fruition across the range of housing that you [Havebury Housing] offer and also the shared housing scheme – so thank you for all the work you do.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

“Partnerships are really important to making these sorts of schemes work,– that’s from the tenants and on to the project teams – so to do this and all have confidence in each other to make sure the scheme really fits in with where you are takes a lot of work.”

The first tenants moved in to Perry Barn Close in June, after construction completed in May, and the Princess Royal was invited in to some of their homes to see how they had benefitted from the affordable scheme.

Rachael Leeves lives in a two-bed rented semi-detached house with her daughter Matilda, aged 16 months. She said: “I can’t wait to share the experience with Matilda when she’s old enough. Not everyone can say they’ve had a real Princess in their home.”

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

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Patricia Torgilsman said: “It was a real privilege to meet Princess Anne. I was very nervous but she was very easy to talk to and so down-to-earth and she really put me at my ease.”

As well as six two-bed homes sold through shared ownership, the site has 15 two-bed homes and 12 one-bed flats, available at affordable rents.

The architect was Ingleton Wood and the properties were built by Dove Jeffery Homes, with £600,000 of the funding coming from the government with a grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Princess Anne was introduced to several guests at the official opening by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston.

Present were Suffolk Police Chief Constable Gareth Wilson, the High Sheriff of Suffolk William Kendall, the Chairman of Suffolk County Council Colin Spence, the Mayor of St Edmundsbury Borough Council Julia Wakelam, the Chairman of Bury St Edmunds Town Council Andrew Speed, the Reverend Canon Mark Haworth, North Bury Team Rector, and Havebury staff, including chief executive Karen Mayhew.

Representatives from a range of organisations were also present, including the Priors Estate Action Group.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

After being shown around, Princess Anne unveiled a plaque at All Saints Church which will be transferred to the housing development and was presented with a posy by four-year-old Lola Pollard and her nine-year-old sister Lilly, before being waved off by children from All Saints Pre-School.

Karen Mayhew, Chief Executive of Havebury Housing Partnership said: “We are honoured that The Princess Royal has visited our new development and met some of our residents.

“We were all extremely excited as it’s not every day you have a royal visitor.”

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The development is located on the site of a former Greene King public house, the Priors Inn, which Havebury bought in December 2013, along with two neighbouring bungalows.

“Its closure was met locally with sadness, but we are thrilled that we have been able to give the site a new lease of life by building much-needed new homes for local people.

“We are also very pleased to have worked closely with the Priors Estate Action Group who continue to strengthen and invest time and energy into their community.”

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds.

Princess Anne visiting Havebury Housing’s Priors Avenue Development in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown