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Video tour of Shire Hall as Cambridgeshire County Council home goes on the market

There has been a "lot of interest" after Shire Hall went on the market, so here’s a chance to look around the home of Cambridgeshire County Council before it becomes a hotel, a retirement home, or student flats.

According to estate agents Strutt and Parker, Shire Hall has been the administrative centre of the County Council since the 1930s, but the site itself has been the seat of Government in Cambridge for more than 1,000 years. They say a castle was built on the site by William the Conqueror in 1067, but the area has been occupied since at least Roman times.

A spokesman for Strutt and Parker said: “The site has always had a secondary function as a prison and, in 1811, a new state of the art prison was built and later a police station. This closed during World War One and the site was purchased by Cambridgeshire County Council for the new Shire Hall, which was completed in 1933.”

A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire County Council said there had been “a lot of interest” from prospective clients interested in using the building. Public access to the castle mound and other areas of historical significance would be protected.

In 2020, the council is due to vacate the site and head for a new, purpose-built headquarters in Alconbury. The new base, however, is already costing more than anticipated after it was revealed the council will need to buy twice the amount of land originally planned for.

Originally, planners at the council had thought the new base could be built on two acres of land. In fact, four acres will be needed, twice what had originally been budgeted for. The extra land will add a further £1.7million to the cost of the project, bringing the total estimated cost to £18.3million.

Shire Hall in Cambridge. Picture: Courtesy of Strutt & Parker (5905684)
Shire Hall in Cambridge. Picture: Courtesy of Strutt & Parker (5905684)

It is still hoped moving to the new building will save the council more than £45 million over a 30-year period.

Potential uses for the building include a hotel, office, homes, a retirement home, or student accommodation.

The six-acre site at Shire Hall is owned freehold by Cambridgeshire County Council. The decision to “dispose of” Shire Hall site and relocate to Alconbury was agreed by Full Council.

The council is expected to announce what Shire Hall will be used for and who will occupy it next March.

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