Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal yesterday (Wednesday 21 January) opened a combined fire station and housing development in Cambridge city centre with 39 affordable homes managed by housing association Hundred Houses.
Parkside Place, completed last year after two years on site, has not only provided Cambridgeshire Fire Service with a new state-of-the-art station at no cost to the taxpayer, but has given Cambridgeshire people 99 new homes, including 39 affordable flats for people who would otherwise not be able to live in the heart of the city.
Princess Anne said she was very pleased to see mixed projects such as these. "The ability to have affordable housing and retain places for those key workers is essential," she said.
The fire station development was funded by Grosvenor Group by building private homes above the new station. A condition of planning permission was that 40 per cent of the 99 homes it built be affordable. Grosvenor therefore leased 39 of the units to Hundred Houses.
The Princess was welcomed into the home of Addenbrooke’s worker Rebecca O’Shaughnessy and her husband Steven, who works for Cambridge University.
They hadmoved into their Hundred Houses flat just over a year ago and told the Princess that without the affordable accommodation they would not have been able to live in the city.
Mr O’Shaughnessy said: “It’s a one bedroom apartment, but the bedroom is big enough to ensure we won’t have to move for a year or two should we start a family.”
Chris Jackson, Hundred Houses chief executive, told the Princess: “Cambridge has one of the highest house price markets in England and many people cannot find housing for themselves in the private market.”