Prince of Wales chats to locals on visit to Bletchingdon community project

Credit: PA
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Interviewees: Tony Saunders (Chair, Bletchingdon Community Foundation), Karen Donaghey (Headteacher, Bletchingdon Parochial C of E School) and school pupils.

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales spent time chatting to crowds of residents in Bletchingdon, as he visited a community project on land owned by his estate, the Duchy of Cornwall.

Over recent years the Bletchingdon Community Project has been working to improve the village for local people through more affordable housing, a new school, village hall and shop.

The school and its attached village hall opened in September 2015, but today marked Charles' first official trip to the completed classrooms.

The Prince joined pupils at Bletchingdon Parochial C of E School, who were cooking and gardening. Credit: PA

After the old Victorian primary school was deemed too small, and the village hall was "rotting", the Bletchingdon Community Foundation approached the Duchy of Cornwall about a new development on the estate's land.

While a significant amount of the funding for the project came from the sale of the old buildings, the Duchy contributed money and design ideas. When the new school and village hall were finished, ownership of the site was then transferred to the community foundation.

Prince Charles visited the area in 2008 to help residents move into new affordable accommodation built on land provided by his estate.

More houses are currently in the process of being built and a much-anticipated village store is expected to open soon.

During his tour, the royal joined pupils who were cooking and gardening, before speaking to parish councillors and school governors in the village hall. He concluded the visit by ceremonially planting the site's final tree.

Credit: PA