Work begins on new Cambridgeshire County Council civic ‘hub’
Work on Cambridgeshire County Council’s new headquarters in Alconbury Weald is under way.
Councillors and contractors celebrated the start on site of the ‘civic hub’, which aims to deliver environmental excellence – as well as unlocking in excess of £45m to spend on local services.
It will replace Shire Hall in Cambridge, which is being sold for development.
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 £18.3million, 3.600 square metre 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 photo voltaic (PV) panels on the roof will provide a renewable energy source to improve the energy efficiency of the building, and the building will look to maximise use of renewable energy now and in the future.
A business case to install a solar array within the car park – under way in the council’s park and ride sites in St Ives and Trumpington - is currently being developed by the council’s energy investment unit.
All of this adds up to the building achieving a reduction of emissions ‘BREEAM’ standard of ‘Excellent’ in line with the council’s ambitious target to reduce its own carbon footprint to zero by 2030 – as part of its environmental and climate change strategy which is to be discussed at full council.
The new building will also massively reduce the council’s building maintenance bill – from an annual £1.3m for Shire Hall in Cambridge to just £500,000 a year.
The project management, design and construction of the Civic Hub has been contracted to local businesses Faithful+Gould and R G Carter – with Allford Hall Monoghan Morris (AHMM) the building’s architects.
Meanwhile, Shire Hall is to be developed by Brookgate, which hopes to build a hotel and office accommodation on the site.
The council has opted to lease the buildings and grounds - for around 30 to 40 years - instead of sell them, meaning Castle Mound will remain open to the public.
It is due to move out of the Cambridge site next year.