Work begins on new £18m Cambridgeshire County Council home

Work has begun on the new £18 million home for Cambridgeshire County Council.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 5:10 pm

Councillors and contractors were in Alconbury Weald today to mark the occasion.

The council is going to lease its current Shire Hall site in Cambridge, resulting in approximately 600 members of staff moving to the new offices, while more than 700 others will move to other offices around the county during 2020.

The council believes the move will save it around £45 million over the next three years.

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From left to right: Cllrs Josh Schumann and Steve Count, Tim Leathes from Urban and Civic, Cllr Mac McGuire and Rob Carter from R G Carters at the event to mark the first spade in the ground

Council leader Cllr Steve Count said: “I am delighted to be marking the start of work on site today. In siting our new civic hub in Alconbury Weald, with its developing transport links, we aim to improve access to the democratic heart of the council.

“The new building is being constructed with as little impact as possible on our carbon footprint. It is designed both for how we work now and how we will work in the future, and around the needs of those who work in it and who will visit it.”

The £18.3 million, 36,00sqm building, set in four acres of former brownfield land, will accommodate 350 desks along with flexible breakout areas, formal meeting rooms and ancillary spaces (toilets, tea points etc), a public reception, a multi-purpose function room for council meetings and political group meeting rooms.

The car park will include more than 20 spaces with electric car charging points and below ground infrastructure ready to link up all spaces to electric charging points in the future.

An increased number of solar panels on the roof will provide a renewable energy source to improve the energy efficiency of the building which will look to maximise use of renewable energy.

A business case to install a solar array within the car park – underway in the council’s park and ride sites in St Ives and Trumpington - is currently being developed by the council’s Energy Investment Unit.

The authority said this will help it reduce its carbon footprint to zero by 2030.

The new building will also massively reduce the council’s building maintenance bill from an annual £1.3 million for Shire Hall to £500,000 a year for the new site.

The project management, design and construction of the civic Hhub has been contracted to local businesses Faithful +Gould and R G Carter – with Allford Hall Monoghan Morris (AHMM) the building’s architects.

“When you plan to spend £18.3 million on developing a new building it is right that a council such as ours which is dedicated to promoting local economy should make sure as much of this as possible is spent with local firms and developing local skills,” said Cllr Josh Schumann, chair of the council’s Commercial and Investment Committee.

“I am thrilled that so far we are smashing our own target of spending at least 70 per cent of the budget with local firms – and that even after we have covered the full cost of this new civic hub we will still be able to re-invest a minimum of £45 million into essential frontline services.”

The council is planning a café in its new home to be run as a social enterprise, helping to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.