Page last updated at 18:55 GMT, Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Prince Charles opens new fire HQ

The fire HQ at Poundbury
The fire HQ was designed to fit in with the rest of Poundbury

Prince Charles has told of how builders branded his model village idea for Dorset "unworkable" as he officially opened its new fire headquarters.

The Prince toured Dorset Fire and Rescue HQ at Poundbury, near Dorchester, with international guests.

The station is part of an £80m project which included a new police station and joint fire HQ in Poole.

It replaces the 1930s Wimborne Road station, demolished in 2007. Poundbury is built on Duchy of Cornwall land.

They said, your Royal Highness in the real world we could not possibly sell houses next to these people
Prince Charles

Construction work on the village, due to be completed by 2025, began in 1993.

It will eventually house about 5,000 people with 2,000 jobs in the factories, offices and shops.

About 1,100 people currently live there in a mixture of affordable, social and privately-owned housing.

The village is based on the prince's ideas which were documented in his book A Vision Of Britain, published in 1989.

On Tuesday, Prince Charles described to the guests from Jordan and Indonesia how he dined with the builders at Highgrove.

"I was explaining what I wanted to do, how you could have affordable housing mixed with other housing," he said.

"They all drank my drink and ate my food and said 'but your Royal Highness in the real world we could not possibly sell houses next to these people'."

He said it was environmentally and commercially sustainable.

Earlier, David Fox, chairman of Dorset Fire Authority said: "The fact that our new headquarters is built on Duchy land makes it particularly appropriate that His Royal Highness has found time in his busy programme to formally open the building and Dorchester Fire Station."



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