Princess Anne has officially opened Havebury Housing’s latest development in Bury St Edmunds on the site of the old Priors Inn.
Perry Barn Close is a purpose-built development of 33 houses and flats, providing affordable housing to more than 60 people.
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 met Havebury staff and tenants and viewed a number of properties on the development, which were completed in May, including the homes of Patricia Torgilsman and Rachael Leeves.
Ms 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.
“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.”
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.
Havebury bought the former Greene King Priors Inn in December 2013, along with two neighbouring bungalows.
Mrs Mayhew explained: “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.”
As well as six two-bed homes sold through Shared Ownership, the site has 15 two-bed homes and 12 one-bed flats for rent.
The scheme cost a total £3.1 million, of which £600,000 was through a government grant from the Homes and Communities Agency.
The architect was Ingleton Wood and the properties were built by Dove Jeffery Homes.The site’s history
The Priors estate was originally built in 1927 and was known as the Perry Barn Estate, whilst the Priors Inn was built six years later in 1933. Following the introduction of the Priors Inn, the estate became known as the Priors Estate.
Besides the ‘Perry Barn Close’ addresses most of Havebury’s new site has remained known as ‘Priors Avenue’ and ‘West Road’. The 12 flats share the address of ‘Britten Place’, named after Suffolk-born composer Benjamin Britten.