Royal visit: William and Kate to open City Hospital

William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who will be visiting Peterborough this month. Photo: � ITN
William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who will be visiting Peterborough this month. Photo: � ITN
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Thursday, 10.45am: Crowd control plans are being drawn up by health chiefs to cope with thousands of spectators who are expected to converge on Peterborough City Hospital for the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

A free park and ride service will be put in place to get people to and from the hospital site in Bretton Gate for the hour-long royal visit.

And health chiefs are keen to underline that despite the Royal visit, the hospital will still be open as usual to treat patients and support their families.

Prince William and Kate will officially declare the hospital open when the Royal couple make their first-ever visit to the city on Wednesday, 28 November.

They will also be greeting patients and staff at the £289 million hospital.

Medical experts will be on hand to show the couple, who were married in April last year, some of the key facilities and equipment at the 612-bed hospital, which opened in November 2010.

It will be the couple’s first official visit to Peterborough and the news has been greeted with delight by hospital bosses.

Nigel Hards, chairman of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said he was looking forward to showing the royal couple around the facility.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the City Hospital on what will be their first visit to Peterborough.

“Our staff are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to show the Royal couple around our fabulous facilities.

“It will be a great day for them and for our patients.”

The Duke and Duchess will be asked to unveil a plaque that will officially open the hospital.

They will also visit one of the hospital’s 20 wards where they will meet some of the patients.

The couple’s visit will be part of their first official joint visit to Cambridgeshire.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said that while they did not know how many people are going to turn out to catch a glimpse of the couple they would have a presence at the hospital during the event.

He said: “We don’t know how many people will turn out to greet the Royal couple but it will be a major crowd-control event.”

In a bid to make it easy for people to get to the hospital the trust is running a park and ride service to the site.

A hospital spokeswoman said: “We will be putting on a free park and ride service with buses running from the Serpentine Green Shopping Centre in Hampton about four miles away to the bus stop near the hospital.”

In addition, the hospital will have to put up barriers to keep spectators at a safe distance from the Royal couple.

The spokeswoman added: “There will be a cost to the hospital trust but there has always been a sum of money set aside for the official opening ceremony.

“As the hospital will still be open and providing treatment we will ensure that there is parking on the site for patients, relatives and staff.

“Staff will also be on hand to guide patients to the right areas of the hospital.”

The news of the Royal visit has been welcomed by Peterborough’s civic leaders, who are looking forward to meeting the couple.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said: “A Royal visit is a fantastic way to get the hospital off to a great start.

“I know there have been problems with the finance of the hospital trust but we can put aside those concerns - at least for a day - and celebrate the opening of what is a magnificent facility for Peterborough.

“I am very much looking forward to meeting The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”

Councillor Marco Cereste, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “It is a great honour for the city that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be officially opening Peterborough City Hospital.

“It is also wonderful news for Peterborough residents, who I’m sure will turn out in force to give them a really warm welcome.”

Peterborough City Hospital first opened its doors in November 2010 and replaced, Peterborough District, the maternity unit in the city centre and Edith Cavell Hospital.

It offers new services not previously available in the city such as radiotherapy and it is the only hospital in the region with an on-site helipad.

Timeline: Royal visit to Cambridge, 28 November 2012

The Hospital opening is part of the couple’s first joint visit to the county

The day-long event will see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pay their first joint visit to the city from which they take their title.

After their wedding, the Queen awarded the title to Prince William and Kate.

Yesterday, Clarence House issued a statement confirming November 28 “will mark the royal couple’s first official joint visit to Cambridgeshire as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge”.

The couple will undertake a series of engagements including visiting Cambridge’s Guildhall, where they will attend a reception for about 400 people.

They will also be given a tour of Jimmy’s resettlement centre, visit the Senate House, University of Cambridge and watch a drama, music and dance presentation at the Manor School.

Local reaction

Peterborough’s first citizens, the Mayor and Mayoress Councillor George and Sylvia Simons have spoken of their delight at the upcoming Royal visit.

The Mayor has already met The Queen, Prince Charles, The Countess of Wessex and the Duke of Gloucester during the course of his year in office so far, so the opportunity to meet Prince William and Kate is just “the icing on the cake”.

Councillor Simons said: “We are absolutely over the moon. It is terrific news.”

The Mayoress, Sylvia Simons added: “It is a wonderful honour for the city.

“If something like this doesn’t lighten the city then I don’t know what will.

“It’s been such a special year with the Jubilee and the Olympics, it is something that will never happen again.”

News of the Royal visit to Peterborough City Hospital has been welcomed by some of the readers commenting on the Peterborough Telegraph’s website.

Lord Kenneth said: “This is a welcoming and exciting event for our new hospital.”

Celavee13 said: “This is great news and a great honour for both Peterborough and the magnificent Peterborough City Hospital.”

Although British Foxy said that the money being spent on the opening should be spent on saving the city’s care homes.