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Following the successful marketing of the six acre Shire Hall site in Central Cambridge – resulting in bids from more than 30 organisations - Members agreed award winning regeneration company Brookgate as their preferred bidder.

Full Council on 14th May discussed the results of a three stage selection process that included a Member working group. The merits of the four final shortlisted bids were debated which included their proposals on how the Castle Mound and the Civil War Earthworks, the site’s major heritage assets, and access to them, would be protected or enhanced.

Brookgate was agreed as the council’s preferred bidder to lease the site and further negotiations will now begin between the developer and the Council to agree the full terms, including the length of the lease - expected to be for a term between 30 and 40 years.

Brookgate, who are responsible for the CB1 development and the developer of the area around the Cambridge North station, in Cambridge, has proposed subject to planning permission, a prestige hotel and prime office accommodation on the site.

The lease arrangement does mean the site remains in public ownership, confirming Cambridgeshire County Council’s commitment to enshrine continued existing public access to the Castle Mound and Civil War Earthworks in the final agreement.

Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council said: “We are very aware of our responsibilities to safeguard and enhance public access to the heritage assets on the site – which has been an important part of the selection process.  But we are also mindful of the need to make the very best use of our assets in order that we can re-invest resources in the essential frontline services which the people of Cambridgeshire rely upon.”

“This potential lease arrangement looks likely to exceed figures outlined in our business case, and see the value of our asset enhanced, but still retain ownership of the site for future generations – which strengthens our original decision to vacate the site.”

Cllr Josh Schumann, Chairman of the council’s Commercial and Investment Committee said: “We received a range of interesting and varied proposals throughout the marketing process which reflects the unique opportunity we were offering.”

“I am pleased that Members have resolved to proceed to the next stage which keeps us on track to realise our ambitions to relocate to both a smaller HQ in Alconbury and through our network of ‘spoke’ locations, develop much closer working arrangements with the communities we serve.”

About Brookgate

Brookgate is a development and investment company based in Cambridge which delivers high quality mixed-use urban projects. We specialise in the regeneration of strategic sites around city centre transport hubs creating office, hotel, student, residential and retail developments.

Our mission is to deliver high-quality and sustainable places that demonstrate outstanding social and environmental responsibility. Our priority is to deliver value to the wider community - ensuring maximum long-term benefit to our partners and the cities in which we operate. Our values are integrity, openness, commitment, delivery and performance.

Brookgate is delivering the CB1 regeneration of Cambridge Station, a 1.5 million sq ft development working in partnership with landowners Network Rail and Jesus College. This new estate in the heart of the city has revitalised the area around the station with a new public square, offices, homes, a hotel, student accommodation, shops and restaurants as well as the UK’s largest cycle park.

Brookgate is currently working in partnership with Deutsche Bahn and Network Rail to deliver the 2 million sq ft regeneration of the area around the new Cambridge North station.

The council’s business case for the project is that even after the development of its smaller more flexibly designed HQ in Alconbury. This bid is expected to deliver in excess of the £46m over 30 years which was in the original business case, for frontline services.

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