A SCHEME to expand and improve Cherry Hinton Library to include additional community facilities and meeting spaces, has moved a step closer to becoming a reality, after planning approval was granted by Cambridge City Council.
Following a number of consultation events with residents in Cherry Hinton, local architects Ingleton Wood Martindales have designed a scheme for a community hub that will extend the building to include:
- A new community café and garden
- Three new meeting rooms
- New toilets (one accessible), and
- Improvements to the library
New technology, such as an air source heat pump, has been incorporated in the plans, to help reduce the carbon footprint of the building.
A review, completed by the city council in 2017, identified a gap in community spaces in this area of the city.
Cherry Hinton Residents Association (CHRA) has been working for many years to bring forward a much-needed community hub for the village. The scheme is now becoming a reality after residents teamed up with the city council, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Royal British Legion.
In anticipation of the planning approval, the residents association has formed a new Cherry Hinton Community Benefit Society (CHCBS) that will manage the hub by recruiting local volunteers to help run the new café and meeting rooms, and look after the new outdoor garden.
The city council has agreed to allocate £200k Section 106 developer funding contributions towards the building costs to enable the scheme to be delivered in a single phase to minimise disruption.
In addition, the county council has allocated £23k of Section 106 funding, and a £250k contribution is being sought from the Royal British Legion, to create a new base for the Cherry Hinton branch. Local fundraising by residents is also under way, with a target of raising another £50k towards costs.
Following planning approval, the architects will now complete detailed and technical design work for the scheme so that building work can then begin. Local residents will be kept engaged and informed regarding progress and a date for work on the site.
Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities at Cambridge City Council, said: “The new community hub will make a real difference to people in Cherry Hinton and provide more of the facilities that they really want and need, in a fantastic refurbished and extended building. We look forward to working in the coming months with residents and our partners at the county council and the Royal British Legion to make this collaborative project a real success for everyone in the community.”
Stuart Newbold, Secretary of CHCBS and CHRA, said: “The new hub will be such a valuable resource, in particular giving us another base to deliver help to those in need during the Covid-19 and taking some of the strain from the food hub base at St Andrew’s Church (https://www.cherryhintonvillage.co.uk/whatwhillhelpfoodhub).
“Going forward we’re sure the hub will become a real focal point for the community, bringing an extra vibrancy to the High Street. To learn more about our plans and to get involved, please visit the CHCBS website www.cherrychub.org/.”
Cllr Steve Criswell, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities and Partnership Committee, said: “This is an exciting time for the residents of Cherry Hinton community and for the library. We are working closely with Cambridge City Council and local community representatives to deliver this much-needed scheme. The new community hub will enable us to support the growth of the local area by bringing a full range of integrated services to the heart of the community.”