County council's £18m headquarters officially opens for business

New Shire Hall in Alconbury Weald is officially opened

Cllr Stephen Ferguson is accompanied by pupils at Alconbury CoE Primary School to officially open New Shire Hall, Cambridgeshire County Council's headquarters. - Credit: Cambridgeshire County Council

Over 700 Cambridgeshire County Council staff can now call New Shire Hall, which has been in operation since last summer, their official workplace after it was opened.

The building was officially opened by Cllr Stephen Ferguson, chair of the county council, at a ceremony on July 8. 

Mrs Julie Spence OBE QPM, Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, made a speech at the event as a cake designed by Ian Cumming, runner-up in the 2015 The Great British Bake Off, was cut. 

“It is great that we can finally enjoy New Shire Hall’s official opening,” Cllr Ferguson said.  

“The building has been operational since last summer but due to the pandemic, we haven't been able to celebrate our new centre of democracy.” 

Cllr Stephen Ferguson with Great British Bake Off runner-up Ian Cumming

Cllr Ferguson, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council, with Ian Cumming, runner-up in the Great British Bake Off, the cake Mr Cumming designed for the official opening and school pupils. - Credit: Cambridgeshire County Council

Cllr Ferguson was assisted by pupils from Alconbury Church of England Primary School who helped cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony. 

A plaque was also unveiled and a speech was made by Cllr Mac McGuire, former chair of the county council. 

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The facility in Alconbury Weald is home to 729 staff from more than 70 different teams which use it as their official office base. 

There are 11 electric car charging points installed in the building’s car park, which the county council say enables up to 22 cars to be charged at any one time. 

“Delivering net zero for the county council and the county is one of our biggest priorities, so it is only right that our civic centre should be designed and operating to a high environmental standard,” Cllr Ferguson added. 

“The design and development of New Shire Hall embodies our commitment to achieving our targets, as well as providing an excellent ‘home’ for our staff and for services to thrive.”   

New Shire Hall, which also has solar panels on its roof, is also predicted to provide around 40,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per annum. 

Main contractor R G Carter helped build the £18m county council headquarters, with nearly all waste created being diverted from landfill. 

Earlier this year, concerns were raised over whether the multi-function room at New Shire Hall was appropriate for full council meetings. 

Concerns include “limited space and the absence of a separate viewing area for the public,” councillors heard.