Work starts on £6.5 million college building

Bricklaying ceremony at COWA Isle Campus 'left to right Cllr Nick Clarke, Ryan Gunns and Josh Santoro who are both doing apprenticeships at College of West Anglia
Bricklaying ceremony at COWA Isle Campus 'left to right Cllr Nick Clarke, Ryan Gunns and Josh Santoro who are both doing apprenticeships at College of West Anglia
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THE first brick has been laid for Awdry House, a new £6.5 million Cambridgeshire County Council building that will make it easier for people to access Children’s Services in Wisbech.

The development is part of a larger £13 million investment on the College of West Anglia site as part of the Wisbech 2020 Vision to improve to encourage jobs, improve the economy and raise the quality of life.

It complements a new £7.2 million Technology Centre being built for the College students and also part funded by the County Council and Fenland District Council.

Cambridgeshire County Council Nick Clarke laid the first brick with College of West Anglia apprentices Ryan Gunns of Emneth and Josh Santoro of Wisbech at the site on Friday (September 28). They were joined by representatives from the College, Fenland District Council and contractor Morgan Sindall who are building the centre.

The public voted on the Shape Your Place website to name the centre Awdry House after the famous creator of children’s favourite Thomas the Tank Engine.

Reverend Wilbert Awdry (1911-1997) was Vicar of Emneth near Wisbech from 1953-1965 and was also the author of the famous ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ children’s books.

This connection is very important as the Council will deliver a range of Children’s and Young People’s Services from the building, which will also be co-located with a number of partner organisations.

The new office will replace several outdated properties in the town (4-6 Stermyn Street, 100 Churchill Road and the Queen Mary Centre) and will be located adjacent to the College of West Anglia (COWA).

The multi-million technology block project is being part funded by the County Council (£5 million) and Fenland District Council (£1.5 million) and will include state-of-the-art workshop facilities for engineering, motorsports, motor vehicle engineering and electrical and electro-technical programmes. A ground breaking ceremony was held at the College on the 30th March to mark the start of the construction phase and the building is expected to be completed by Easter 2013.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Simon King, Local Member for Wisbech South, said: “I’m really pleased this new building will help secure the future of the Isle College in Wisbech. And it’ll save taxpayers’ money and provide better facilities. A great result all round.”