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New Shire Hall officially opened

08 July 2022

The official opening of New Shire Hall, Cambridgeshire County Council’s new civic hub took place today, Friday July 8.

The building, operational since the summer of 2021, was officially opened by Cambridgeshire County Council Chair Cllr Stephen Ferguson, ably supported by pupils from Alconbury CofE Primary School.

Celebrations also included the cutting of a cake designed by The Great British Bake Off runner up Ian Cumming of Great Wilbraham.

New Shire Hall at Alconbury Weald has been purpose built to be the county council’s civic hub and the centre of local decision making – whilst at the same time meeting high environmental standards.

In total 729 staff from more than 70 different teams have New Shire Hall as their official office base.

Staff spend time in the office each week and they also work from any one of the many other offices across the county or elsewhere, with technology ensuring they can work close to the communities they serve.

Cllr Ferguson said: “It is great that we can finally enjoy New Shire Hall’s official opening. The building has been operational since last summer but due to the pandemic we haven't been able to celebrate our new centre of democracy. I am also looking forward to welcoming pupils from Alconbury C of E Primary School - these children are the future generation of Cambridgeshire, so it is fitting to include them as part of the ceremony.”

New Shire Hall has been purpose built with environmental credentials at its heart.

The car park has 11 electric car charging points installed which enables up to 22 cars to be charged at any one time.

Solar panels are now in place on the roof of the building, and these consist of 151 panels rated at 335 wattsm. This will provide a total array rating of 50 Kilowatts. The total array is predicted to produce in the region of 40,000 kWh of electricity per annum.

All furniture for New Shire Hall has been produced by a UK manufacturing company, The Senator Group, based in Blackburn who also have their own recycling unit, Sustain. Once the furniture is delivered, they take away disused materials and packaging and recycle them to ensure nothing goes to landfill, therefore reducing the impact on the environment.

During the construction, nearly two thirds of RG Carter employees who worked on the project were local, hailing from within 30 miles of the site – cutting travel and supporting local employment. Nearly 100% of all waste created by the project was also diverted from landfill.

Cllr Ferguson added: “Delivering net zero for the county council and the county is one of our biggest priorities, so it is only right that our civic centre should be designed and operating to a high environmental standard. Not only does it have an energy performance rating of A+, it is designed to save more than 70 tonnes of CO2e each year.

“The design and development of New Shire Hall embodies our commitment to achieving our targets, as well as providing an excellent ‘home’ for our staff and for services to thrive.”

The ceremony comprised of a ribbon cutting and unveiling of a plaque. The Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Julie Spence OBE QPM DL made a speech to mark the event, as did Cllr Mac McGuire the former Chair of the Council.