New £18m county council HQ at Alconbury takes a step closer with topping-out ceremony

Left to right: Cllr Mark Goldsack, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Commercial and Investment Committee, Cllr...

Left to right: Cllr Mark Goldsack, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Commercial and Investment Committee, Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Nigel Hugill, Chief Executive of Urban&Civic, Josh Curson, Site Manager for R G Carter, Cllr Mac McGuire, Chairman at Cambridgeshire County Council and Gillian Beasley, Chief Executive at Cambridgeshire County Council.) - Credit: Archant

A new headquarters in Huntingdon for Cambridgeshire County Council - which could release an additional £45 million for public services - has moved a step closer to completion.

Now a topping-out ceremony to mark construction reaching roof level has been held at the Alconbury Weald building as part of an £18.3 million project which is expected to open next summer, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Steve Count, leader of the county council, said: “This topping out ceremony marks a significant step in the development of our new HQ and brings us one step closer to releasing more than £45m into essential frontline services, more necessary than ever due to the effects of COVID 19.”

Contractor R G Carter has been able to keep the site open throughout lockdown with staff following social distancing rules and Government guidance but a three-month closure of two crucial supply chain subcontractors is expected to lead to a knock on 12 week delay in the handover of the building, which uses an array of green technology.

Cllr Count said: “At the moment we have very few staff working in Shire Hall due to COVID-19 restrictions, and while many of our staff have enjoyed and performed brilliantly under these circumstances, it is not ideal for all.

Nigel Hugill, chief executive of Urban and Civic, owners and masterdevelopers of Alconbury Weald, said: “This is a building very much of its time - clever, pragmatic and sustainable.

“A soon to be landmark on one of the largest Enterprise Zones in the country that, as part of the energetic new community at Alconbury, demonstrates Cambridgeshire’s ambitions not only to grow but to grow well.”

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Mr Hugill added: “Bravo to the County Council and, contractors, R G Carter in keeping up the pace in such challenging circumstances. No let up from here. We much look forward to a safe and successful opening next year.”

Josh Curson, site manager at R G Carter, said: “The topping out ceremony marks another significant milestone for the project and allows us to welcome key stakeholders to view the building‘s progress and to thank everyone involved.

“We are delighted to be working on this modern and sustainable project that will benefit the local community for many years to come.”