In spring 2021 Cambridgeshire County Council is set to open a new civic hub at Alconbury Weald.
The £18.3m, 3600sqm building is set in four acres of former brownfield land and will be the nominated work base for up to 700 staff and will feature flexible breakout areas, formal meeting rooms, a public reception, a multi-purpose function room for meetings, and political group meeting rooms.
The new building is being constructed with as little impact as possible on the environment. The car park includes 20 spaces with electric car charging points (with the underground infrastructure to extend to the whole car park) and an air source heat pump instead of gas to heat the building. The on-site renewable energy generation, which also includes a solar photo-voltaic array in the car park and on the roof, is expected to meet up to 40% of the building’s estimated energy use. It will also benefit the local economy with a target of 70% of supplies and services from businesses based less than 50 miles from the site, with the first £9.8m of orders currently achieving 76%.
Our Cambs 2020 programme has the new Alconbury Weald building at its heart and will create a ‘hub and spoke’ approach to providing council services, allowing the council to move closer to the communities that we serve and reduce the pressure on the congested infrastructure of Cambridge.
This is not just a programme of office moves – it is a catalyst for change for Cambridgeshire County Council and its employees to deliver services in a different way – linking to our Think Communities focus and our Climate Change and Environment Strategy. It also supports the council’s Commercial Strategy, which seeks to invest in assets, which will provide a secure and ongoing return allowing us to invest the savings in front line services.
Full Council passed a motion in May 2016 (item 231a) to look at options for future uses of Shire Hall as part of a continued push to make the best possible use of our assets - including the land and buildings we own. This was conducted in conjunction with our move to promote more flexible and agile working among our staff – linked to technological advances and transformed working practices, and aimed at reducing congestion in Cambridge.
A 40-year lease of the Shire Hall site – which will operate as a hotel as well as providing office space - will release more than £45m for reinvesting in frontline services, and will retain the site in public ownership - retaining and enhancing public access to Castle Mound which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.