Preferred bidder in line for former Mill Road Library building in Cambridge
A preferred bidder for the purchase of the former Mill Road Library building has been selected by Cambridgeshire County Council officers.
Councillors have been asked to decide at a meeting of the strategy and resources committee on Tuesday (March 28) whether an organisation that offers services to vulnerable young people should be allowed to buy the site. This follows consideration of eight bids from a variety of groups that were received by the local authority.
One of those bids to purchase the grade II-listed building, which has not been selected, was from a group of volunteers who wanted to turn it into cinema and arts centre.
The preferred bidder, a children’s organisation, has not been named by the council. But council officers and the selling agent considered their offer to be the strongest.
Background documents from the committee meeting say: “They provided a very professional business case with the strongest financial bid and clear financing. They provide an important service to vulnerable young people, are established but are at a crossroad as they have outgrown their current accommodation. They propose to have some community space provision and flexible space for hire and will consider a restrictive covenant.”
The former Mill Road library in Cambridge was built in 1892 and operated as a library until 1996. It was then used for a variety of short term uses until it was let to the Indian Community & Culture Association in 1999 on a 25-year lease at a peppercorn rent but was repossessed by the council and has undergone repairs of almost £500,000. The building was let to Hill Residential in July 2022 as a site office to serve the Mill Road depot redevelopment by Cambridge Housing Investment Partnership, but is now empty.
A group that had included support from the Cambridge Film Festival and Cambridge Literary Festival had hoped to make the building into an arts and cultural centre, which would include a cinema screen. Cambridge City councillor Mike Davey ( Lab, Petersfield) had backed the bid.
He said: “We were very disappointed not to be chosen as the preferred bidder but we will continue with our plans and look for another possible venue for the project.”