New County Council HQ 'tops out' at Alconbury Weald


Alconbury Weald today (28 October) held a milestone event to mark the completion of the roof of the new headquarters of Cambridgeshire County Council at Alconbury Weald. The event is a key milestone in the project, which will ultimately deliver an extra £45m for the council to invest in public services.

The building sits behind the historic listed Watch Office building, at the heart of the first phase of Alconbury Weald, bringing together the first 1 million sq foot of business space delivered to date in the Enterprise Zone, and the first of the overall 5000 homes planned for the development.

Contractors RG Carter have worked through lockdown, set up exemplar social distancing guidance, and battled with a number of supply chain issues caused by Covid, to keep the build going. The building is set to open in late summer 2021.

The move from Cambridge to Alconbury Weald is a significant one for the County Council: not only saving money to plough back into public services, through the sale of the existing City Centre location, but also ensuring the purpose-built headquarters is located in the middle of the County, sitting between the two cities of Cambridge and Peterborough and on the key transport links of the A1 and A14, the East Coast Mainline and the future Cambridge Autunomous Metro system, to best serve the county’s communities.

The socially distanced ceremony was attended by Gillian Beasley, Chief Executive at Cambridgeshire County Council; Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council; Cllr Mac McGuire, Chairman at Cambridgeshire County Council; Cllr Mark Goldsack, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Commercial and Investment Committee; Josh Curson, Site Manager for R G Carter and Nigel Hugill, Chief Executive of  Urban&Civic, the masterdevelopers of Alconbury Weald.

Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire 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.

“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. What we have learnt during the pandemic will help us deal with the situation until the building is delivered. Once occupied, the building has been constructed in such a way to give us the greatest flexibility to take advantages of technologically supported new ways of working, whilst ensuring we can recover a balance for our valued workforce to attend where this assists their work and personal welfare.”

Nigel Hugill, Chief Executive of Urban&Civic, the owners and masterdevelopers of Alconbury Weald added:

“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.  Bravo to the County Council and contractors RG Carters 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.”

In line with both the County Council’s Climate Strategy and Alconbury Weald’s low carbon aspirations, the new HQ is being built to have as little impact as possible on the environment.  The car park will include more than 20 spaces with electric car charging points, photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof will provide a renewable energy source and an air source heat pump will heat the building.

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.”