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Bids invited for former Mill Road Library building

04 March 2024

Bids are again invited for the former Mill Road Library building after the preferred bidder decided not to continue with their proposals for a new charity HQ.

The historic former Mill Road Library is a Grade II listed building in central Cambridge with huge character, that dates back to the 19th Century.

The building has been owned by Cambridgeshire County Council since the 1970s and was previously leased to an Indian Community and Cultural Association until 2019, and then let on a temporary basis to Hill Group for office and welfare use until February 2023.

The property is being marketed by Gerald Eve from 4th March 2024 with a guide price of £700,000.

The bidding process is open to both community and commercial investors. The County Council is keen to encourage as much interest as possible to secure the best future for this historic building.

Offers will be considered by Councillors on the Assets & Procurement Committee at their June meeting. Councillors will review not only the financial bid made but whether the offer delivers environmental and social benefits.

Nearly £500,000 was recently invested in the building to replace gutters, eliminate damp and repair stonework, brickwork and windows. The quality of this work was commended at the Greater Cambridge Design and Construction awards.

The former library was built in 1892 opening to residents five years later. The library closed in 1996 and the building has since been leased to community groups.

The building was previously home to an ornate stone archway which has since been gifted to the local community and relocated by the Mill Road Traders’ Association to Ditchburn Place gardens.

Mill Road Library has been registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) following representations from the community. This process is managed by Cambridge City Council.

ACV status ensures local community organisations are informed of the council’s intention to sell the property. These groups have six weeks to register their interest, which will prohibit the sale of the building for a further 4.5 months. This allows community organisations six months in total to demonstrate their proposals – but will not determine who can buy the building or the price. The council expects strong interest from both community and commercial bidders.

Jane Webster, Principal Urban Surveyor at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "The Mill Road library building occupies a large space in a busy central area of Cambridge next to the newly opened Ironworks housing development.

"It's a unique building which people will have to see to appreciate, including attractive red brick façade highlighted by the recent refurbishment. Large windows and high roof space give a light and airy feel to the building.

"The building has real character with massive potential, making this a unique opportunity for the right buyer."

Cllr Ros Hathorn, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Assets and Procurement Committee, added: “This is an exciting opportunity to find the best use for what is an iconic building with a revered history.

“Any decision on the future use of the building will be subject to environmental and social considerations, as well as the financial offer made.

“We look forward to hearing from interested community and commercial organisations as we look to find a future guardian for this listed building.”

Anyone interested in finding out more information should contact Tristan Ball (07825 280910, or Ben Gilbey (07393 764732, at Gerald Eve agents.

Assistance can be provided in preparing community bids and making the necessary notification by emailing .

More information on the premises can be found at:

There will be an “Open Afternoon” on Friday 19 April, between 12 noon and 6pm. No booking is necessary. Attendees will be asked to leave their name and contact details.