A NEW community hub is set to be created in Cherry Hinton after additional funding from Cambridge City Council was confirmed.
The project will see the existing Cherry Hinton Library expanded and improved to include fully accessible new meeting rooms, a new community café and garden, new toilet facilities, and a new improved library space.
Additional funding support was approved at the council’s Strategy and Resources Committee recently. A professional team will now be appointed to complete technical design work and to start construction of the hub.
A review of community facility provision completed by the council in 2017, identified a shortage of community spaces in this part of the city. Creating new community facilities for parts of the city that need them has been a strategic priority for the council under its Community Centres Strategy.
Residents have worked together for many years to raise funds and to bring forward plans for the new community hub. In 2018 they began working in partnership with the city council and Cambridgeshire County Council on a scheme to extend the existing library building on the corner of Cherry Hinton High Street and Colville Road.
The architects Ingleton Wood Martindales were appointed to develop plans for the library extension, and planning permission was granted in 2020 for the new hub.
Situated in the centre of Cherry Hinton, the library is ideally placed to become a hub for the whole community, where residents will be able to come together to have meetings, host activities and events, have a coffee, access important local support services and still borrow books.
Residents have formed the Cherry Hinton Community Benefit Society (CHCBS) to manage the hub and recruit local volunteers to help run the new café and meeting rooms and to look after the new outdoor garden.
The city council agreed to provide £492k of capital funding and has allocated £197k of Section 106 (S106) developer funding contributions towards the building costs, to enable the hub scheme to be delivered in a single phase in order to minimise disruption.
In addition, the county council have allocated £28k of S106 funding, and £50k of local funding will be raised to contribute 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, said: “Our Community Centre Strategy identified new community facilities for Cherry Hinton as priority. I am delighted that we will now be able to address this gap, which will make an enormous difference to people in the area.
“Local facilities like the Cherry Hinton Hub have become even more important following the pandemic. They help reduce isolation, helping people to connect with each other and access vital local support services. The extension will create a fantastic refurbished and improved building and I look forward to seeing its development over the coming months and years.”
Stuart Newbold, Secretary of CHCBS, said: "We are very grateful to the city council and the county council for their practical and financial support and their recognition of our area's need for community space and facilities. We have conducted our own research in addition to the council's review of community facilities and are certain of the very positive impact that this will have on our community.
“It is a facility that we have been hoping to see for many years and we are delighted that our hopes will now be realised. Planning the building's redevelopment is a partnership project but, once completed, the Hub will be run by members of the local community in response to the needs of residents. To learn more about our plans and to get involved, please visit the Hub website: https://www.cherryhintonhub.org”