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County Council agrees way ahead for A14 & Northstowe archaeological finds display

08 September 2023

Cambridgeshire County Council has decided a way forward to display archaeological finds from recent digs at Northstowe and the new A14 construction, after a project funded by National Highways and Homes England was put into jeopardy through contractor administration.

A dedicated Heritage Centre for Northstowe and Longstanton, on land leased to the County Council by Homes England, and which aimed to feature finds from both major archaeological digs for Northstowe, the new A14 construction and archive of Longstanton and District Heritage Society, was halted in March after the County Council’s main contractor – IsoSpaces - was placed into administration. Since then, the County Council has been working with partners to ensure this setback won’t stop the exhibits from being displayed to local people as intended.

Options considered including finding a new contractor, at an estimated cost of £550k, stopping the project altogether and return the leased space, or look at delivering the project in a whole different way.

Having considered these options, particularly the additional costs required if the construction were to continue, the Council has decided to deliver the project in a different way by finding alternative venues to deliver an exhibition and will be considering different accessible venues in parts of the county linked to the areas where the artefacts may have originated. Specific display equipment, which has already been developed for the artefacts, will be used once the venues are identified.

Partners at National Highways and Homes England who have been jointly funding the project remain keen to see the exhibition delivered.

Cllr Lorna Dupre, Chair of the Environment and Green Investment Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council said: “I am delighted that we are taking positive action to agree to deliver this project in a different way, against the odds, to ensure these finds are still visible for the people of Cambridgeshire.

“While we were put in this position because the contractor has gone into administration, it is to the great credit to officers from the County Council and our partners that we are now on course to find somewhere else for these exhibits to be displayed.

“We are keen to make sure residents throughout Cambridgeshire, but in particular the local community, school children as well as visitors to our county will be able to see the exhibits and learn about some of the fascinating archaeology of our area.”