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Recognition for renovation of former Mill Road Library

23 March 2022

Extensive works to bring the former Mill Road Library in Cambridge back into use have been recognised at an awards ceremony.

The renovation of the Grade II listed building was carried out by Cambridgeshire County Council with support from the leading Cambridge conservation architect’s studio of Donald Insall Associates.

And the quality of the project has resulted in the architects receiving a Commendation at the first Greater Cambridge Design and Construction awards event.

The Commendation came in the category of: Best Conservation, Alteration or Extension of an Existing Building under £2m.

The six month renovation of the former library cost nearly £500,000 and included works to replace gutters, stop damp penetration and carry out repairs to stonework, brickwork and windows.

The Hill Group, which is building properties at the nearby former city council depot, will lease the building until the autumn. The building is about to be put on the market for sale. Community interest is anticipated and the council hopes that a longer term occupier of the building can be found. It is registered as an Asset of Community Value.

The former library was built in the late 1800s and opened to the public in June 1897. It transferred to the county council in 1974 but closed in 1996.

For two years it was used as a shelter for people experiencing homelessness before a lease was agreed with the Indian Community and Cultural Association, which ended in 2019.

The county council then obtained listed building consent in order to repair the property. It also handed over ornate stonework relating to the Hindu shrine which was installed by the previous tenants to the Mill Road Trader’s Association.

The awards ceremony was held at Frankopan Hall, Jesus College, at the University of Cambridge. They were endorsed by the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service, a partnership between Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils, along with the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry (CFCI).

Cllr Tom Sanderson, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee, said: “The renovation of the former library has been a big success for the council, both in restoring the iconic building and providing an income.

“It’s pleasing to see the hard work recognised at the awards ceremony and I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the project.”