Cambridge City Council has approved funding to enable a scheme to extend Cherry Hinton Library to go ahead.

The scheme will provide much-needed new community facilities and a fully refurbished library space.

The council’s 2019 Community Centre Strategy identified a gap in access to community facilities for Cherry Hinton residents and the council has been working with the Cherry Hinton Community Benefit Society to develop plans for a new hub.

The new hub has been designed in consultation with local residents and will feature a new café, three meeting rooms and a garden.

Planning approval was granted in 2020 and with funding now in place work will start as soon as possible to demolish existing extensions and start construction of the new, fully accessible community hub.

Cambridgeshire County Council, which runs the Cambridgeshire Library Service, will be closing Cherry Hinton Library from April 29 to allow work to commence on site in May.

Jane Wilson, director of neighbourhoods and communities at Cambridge City Council, said: “Delivering a new community facility for Cherry Hinton is a priority for the council, as it’s important that residents in all parts of our city have easy access to community space and we know that the Cherry Hinton community has been without suitable facilities for some time now. I’m really looking forward to work now beginning on-site at pace, with the intention of opening the new community hub in May 2024.”

Gary Porter, Cambridgeshire County Council’s head of libraries, archives and culture, said: “This is great news for the residents of Cherry Hinton and we are delighted that the City Council are developing this vital community facility. This does mean that the library will be closed for a while, but we will be providing a mobile service close to the library on Saturdays, in addition to enhanced facilities at nearby Rock Road library until the work is completed.”

Mo Child, chair of Cherry Hinton Community Benefit Society, said: “We are delighted that work will be starting on the Hub soon and thank everyone who has worked so hard to meet the deadlines. The Benefit Society looks forward to continuing to work with both the city and county council to bring this much-needed community facility to Cherry Hinton. We will also be concentrating on raising the rest of the £50,000 for the café, which will provide a meeting place for the Cherry Hinton community.”

Cambridge-based property and construction consultancy Ingleton Wood has been appointed to provide multi-disciplinary services for the project, including architecture, mechanical and electrical, and civil and structural engineering.

Ian Morrison, director and architect, said: “Having worked extensively with key project stakeholders for the past five years, we are delighted that funding has been approved to allow this vital community scheme to go ahead. The refurbished and extended Cherry Hinton Library will benefit from flexible, modern meeting spaces for a range of activities and local community groups to use, alongside a much-awaited community cafe. The building will become a flagbearer for sustainability with air source heat pumps providing cheaper green energy and green roofs supporting a sustainable drainage strategy.

“We look forward to working hand-in-hand with Cambridge City Council and other partners to deliver this fantastic community hub for residents and the wider community.”

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