Energy efficiency one of the keys to Cambridgeshire County Council's planned £18m new headquarters at Alconbury

PUBLISHED: 11:03 18 March 2019

Cambridgeshire County Council hope for high energy efficiency outcomes for their new £18m headquarters at Alconbury. Picture; CAMBS CC

Cambridgeshire County Council hope for high energy efficiency outcomes for their new £18m headquarters at Alconbury. Picture; CAMBS CC

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The county council says it's new Alconbury £18m headquarters is being designed to exceed the normal levels for sustainability and energy with renewable targets of 30 per cent against the local planning legislation of 10 per cent.

“The high efficiency low carbon technology will equate to a potential energy generation of 40,000kW hours per year,” says a new report to councillors.

“This will provide a projected energy saving of £4,720 per year”

One main feature could be using solar energy to its car park that could also provide electric charging points for cars. A business case to look at this is being considered.

“The car park will include accessible spaces, spaces for pool cars and charging points for electric vehicles,” says the report noting that provision for up to 230 vehicles is proposed.

Up to 350 desks for staff will be made available at the new headquarters for around 700 staff to be based there – hot desking and flexible working will ensure the smooth running of the office.

The council’s civic hub is included within phase one with the town centre and transport hub included within the second phase.

Bus stops will be located on the boulevard directly outside the building and public transport services are likely to increase as the development progresses, creating the demand for their provision.

The council will ensure on site parking is available before the new complex opens.

“The council believes this number of car parking spaces will be required on ‘Day One’,” says the report.

“However, it is envisaged that as travel patterns and choice will change in the future, the layout of the site will allow for the car park to reduce if or when this becomes appropriate”

Contractor RG Carter plans a ‘meet the builder’ event or events to advertise employment opportunities locally to the site at Alconbury Weald and Cambridgeshire generally.

Keeping staff happy is another priority for the council and the report says this is reflected in the landscaped courtyard in the centre of the building –providing a casual spill-out area for all building users to mix in.

There will also be a balcony on the east facade, providing views out over the staff amenity garden and the neighbouring public open space.

This week the commercial and investment committee is expected to agree the next stage which will be a planning application early next month with a decision made by the end of July.

Construction work could begin as earlier as November with a 13 month build programme, opening just before Christmas next year.

However the report also warns of remaining risks to the timescale including the time scale for winning planning permission.

The council will be told of “a considerable number of risks” that include the final construction costs exceeding estimates when tendered with RG Carter’s supply chain.

There are also fears of discovering “obstructions in ground/poor ground conditions not reasonably established during design phase” and the fear too of “hazardous materials/contaminated land discovered during site activities which could impact cost/programme”.

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