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Winning bid for former Mill Road Library to be chosen

23 March 2023

Members of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Strategy & Resources Committee will consider multiple bids for the historic Mill Road Library in Cambridge at its meeting on 28 March.

The refurbished Grade II listed building has been on the market since August with interested buyers having until 12 January to make a formal offer.

During this process, there were 68 viewings which led to eight bids being received. Following assessment four of the bids are to be considered by the Strategy & Resources Committee.

The committee will decide which offer to accept at its meeting later this month and will base its judgement on a wide range of factors, and not just the highest financial offer. The criteria which will be considered includes promotion of economic, social and environmental wellbeing.

The decision to sell the former library was made after Cambridgeshire County Council carried out a comprehensive £500k refurbishment of the property, following its repossession from a previous lease holder, which included works to replace gutters, prevent damp and repairs to stonework, brickwork and windows. The quality of the redesign resulted in architects Donald Insall Associates, on behalf of the council, receiving a commendation at the first Greater Cambridge Design and Construction awards event.

The decision to sell rather than lease the building was made to allow the council to recover its restoration costs and reduce its liabilities for repairs in the future.

As the property was registered as an Asset of Community Value, it could not be sold before 6 February (six months after it went on the market), unless to a qualifying community group. After this date the property could be sold to any party.

The building is being marketed on behalf of the council by agents Gerald Eve.

Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, and chair of the council’s Strategy & Resources Committee, said: “The former library is an historic and much cherished community asset which the council has superbly restored.

“Unsurprisingly, there has been a huge amount of interest in its future, so I am really pleased we will shortly be able to announce the successful bidder, and local residents will be able to see the building brought back into use.”

Cllr Richard Howitt, local member for Petersfield, the area which includes the library, said: “The former Mill Road Library is a place of huge significance in Cambridge, and we want to make sure its new owners will make the best use of it in future years.”

The report to be considered by members of the Strategy & Resources Committee can be viewed on the council’s website. The committee meeting can be watched on the council’s YouTube page.