December 8 2013 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Monday, October 28, 2013
A new council headquarters which opened in Wisbech today was not only completed on time but also delivered an under spend of £600,000 on its original £6.5m budget.
The official opening of Awdry House, Wisbech, means many will find it easier to access a range of services under one roof.
Awdry House, which replaces several outdated properties in the town, is next door to the College of West Anglia.
It houses several teams from children’s services, including locality teams, social care, children’s centres, family intervention, statutory assessment and resources, youth offending, support for learning and learners with learning disabilities and/or difficulties.
The building also contains the registration service, the community engagement team and YMCA partner services. All these services provide support to the communities of Wisbech.
The investment comes as part of the Wisbech 2020 vision to encourage jobs, improve the economy and improve service delivery for the people of Wisbech.
Awdry House was officially opened by county council chairman Cllr Kevin Reynolds and council leader Cllr Martin Curtis.
Building was finished earlier this year and people have been relocating to the offices throughout the summer. Teams have moved from a number of buildings that were in a poor condition, were unsuitable and were unfit for purpose.
Lisa Riddle, Wisbech Locality Manager, said: “We’ve noticed customers and staff are much happier in the new building, which really is a big improvement as we now have a range of flexible meeting spaces, and better IT facilities.”
The public chose to name Awdry House after voting on the Shape Your Place website. The building was named after Reverend Wilbert Awdry (1911-1997) who was Vicar of Emneth near Wisbech from 1953-1965 and was also the author of the famous Thomas the Tank Engine children’s books.
The development of Awdry House next door to the College of West Anglia is part of a larger investment on the college site, totalling £13m. As part of the same construction contract a new technology centre was built to provide the college students with state-of-the-art workshop facilities for engineering, motorsports, motor vehicle engineering and electrical and electro-technical programmes.
This building was funded by Cambridgeshire County Council (£5 million), Fenland District Council (£1.5 million) and the College themselves. Construction for this building was completed in March 2013. The two projects were very closely linked and were developed with a planned time lag between them so a single construction contractor (Morgan Sindall) could carry out the work in the most cost effective way.