Chester House Estate received a very special guest yesterday when Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, visited the nationally significant heritage site.
Before unveiling a plaque and officially opening the site, Her Royal Highness toured the Estate, met with North Northamptonshire Council’s Chairman, Cllr Larry Henson, Cllr Helen Howell (Deputy Leader and Executive member for Sport, Leisure, Culture and Tourism) Kerry Purnell (Assistant Director for Housing and Communities), Jack Pishhorn (Manager), members of the Chester House Estate team, dedicated volunteers and representatives from key stakeholders including Historic England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Nenescape, The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Natural England and the Creating Tomorrow College.
Following a challenging and pioneering £15m heritage restoration project, the Chester House Estate opened to the public in October 2021 and to date has welcomed over 140,000 visitors to the estate.
During the visit, Cllr Helen Howell, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Sport, Leisure, Culture and Tourism for North Northamptonshire Council (who own the Chester House Estate) said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to see the completion of the Chester House Estate project and the successful first year that it has had. Since opening we have welcomed an astonishing 140,000 visitors, we have seen 5 new businesses open and thrive in their new premises, over 30 new local jobs have been created and we have also enjoyed 100’s of local school children visiting us as part of our educational offering.
“The success of the estate couldn’t have happened without National Lottery Heritage Funding and Department of Media, Culture and Sport whose support over the years has really made the restoration possible.
“We are very proud of the Chester House Estate and what it encompasses by bringing businesses, residents and visitors of the area together.”
Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of North Northamptonshire Council said: “The team and volunteers at the Chester House Estate were privileged and honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness to the site to witness first-hand their hard work and the excellent, historically important asset we have here in North Northamptonshire.
“The Estate team, alongside a dedicated group of volunteers, have worked so hard over the past few years, and especially since the site opened to the public, so it is great that we have received the Royal seal of approval with Her Royal Highness’ visit and a thank you to everyone who has made it possible.”
Anne Jenkins, Executive Director, Business Delivery at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “It was wonderful to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to officially open Chester House Estate. This important heritage site explores over 10,000 years of human history, and it’s thanks to National Lottery players that this site is now open and will inspire visitors of all ages to learn about Northamptonshire’s fascinating past.”