Shock report reveals cost of moving Cambridgeshire archives centre to Ely has risen 55 per cent in a year

 Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A shock report has revealed that the cost of moving the county council’s archives to a new centre in Ely has rocketed by 55 per cent in less than a year.

County councillors will be told that the costs of the scheme have risen from £4 million to £6.198 million.

The rise is partly blamed “on the original feasibility study under estimating the costs and a more recent review correcting this”.

And the updated report says: “Also the original cost was just based on an archive centre, whereas now the centre will include other services.”

The original report was penned last year by Graham Hughes, the county council’s executive director for economy, transport and environment, who said the move to Ely would allow the authority to “replace leased accommodation at Cottenham and enable potential rationalisation of county council office accommodation in Ely”.

He said last year that “revenue savings from the release of property are estimated at more than £286,000, whilst savings through integrated, streamlined staffing and additional income are expected to be £223,000, totalling more than £500,000 per year”.

The county plans to take over Strikes Bowling in Angel Drove on a 1.5 acre site.

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The 300-year lease of the land, which expires in 2295, is held by SGBD Property Holdings but the freehold belongs to East Cambridgeshire District Council.

If permission is given, the county council plans to use the building to house the Cambridgeshire Collection, the public archives and the Ely Registration Office – allowing marriages and civil partnerships to be carried out.

Space will also be set aside for the county’s children, adults and families service, with 100 jobs potentially moving there.

The county council believes the development would bring additional 6-9,000 visitors to Ely.

At present, related county council services, such as the records office and the Cambridgeshire Collection are located in separate and dispersed buildings.

By bringing both services under a single roof, the county council believes researchers and visitors can more conveniently access the material they need without having to make multiple journeys between different locations.