Event to mark first spade in the ground at new county council headquarters

Cambridgeshire County Council's Shire Hall

Cambridgeshire County Council's Shire Hall - Credit: Archant

Building work on the new Alconbury Weald headquarters will start next spring.

Councillors will hear on Monday (December 16), about the project which it is said will return more than £45 million to the public purse.

An event to mark the first spade in the ground on site will take place immediately after the commercial and investment committee meeting held at The Club, The Boulevard, Alconbury Weald Enterprise Campus on Monday.

Work begins following a slight delay in preparation and transfer of the land, which occurred when it was found that work to remove material left by previous buildings had not been completed to the agreed specification, by consultants and contractors working on behalf of site vendors, Urban&Civic.

Urban & Civic worked closely with the Council to reduce the subsequent delay in both buying the land and the building work being able to start. This has been achieved with no additional cost to the taxpayer, sticking to its original £18.3m budget.

This means the building is now expected to be completed in spring 2021, although every opportunity will be taken to reduce any further delay through taking advantage of efficiencies and opportunities, for instance better than expected winter weather.

"News that we can begin work on our new HQ brings us one step closer to releasing more than £45m into essential frontline services, which we will provide for the people of Cambridgeshire over the next 30 years," said Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council. "As demand for our services grows and we press the case for a fairer share of local authority funding with our new Government - this vital injection of funding will help us deliver our services without a constant recourse to hard pressed local tax payers."

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"I would like to pay tribute to our own officers, and vendors Urban&Civic who have worked so closely with us to minimise delays to the start of this project, which have been entirely outside our control," said Cllr Josh Schumann, Chairman of the Commercial and Investment Committee. "I am delighted that we are now able to start work on a project which will be a fantastic example of a building designed to high environmental standards, with flexible and efficient accommodation for both current and future use."

Tim Leathes, development director for Urban&Civic added: "We recognise the importance of this strategic move for the Council and its role in the transformation of public services for Cambridgeshire residents. This is also a major milestone for Alconbury Weald, in opening up the next phase of commercial focus for office headquarters, in line with some key bits of transport and community infrastructure coming on line over the next few years. We will continue to work with them to ensure timely and cost effective delivery of this inspiring building which will play such a key role in the future landscape of the County."

The majority of the 1,314 staff currently based at Shire Hall in Cambridge are set to move to existing offices closer to the communities they serve in phases throughout next year, starting from spring 2020. Around 600 staff are due to move from Shire Hall to be based at Alconbury Weald.