The ribbon was cut on Monday to mark the official opening of a new multi-million pound office complex for Cambs County Council.
Awdry House, named after Thomas the Tank Engine author and Emneth vicar the late Rev Wilbert Awdry, is a purpose-built facility which will make it easier for people to access a range of services under one roof.
It replaces several outdated properties in the town and is in Ramnoth Road next to the College of West Anglia. It houses an array of teams from the Children’s service including Locality, 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. Construction was completed on time and £600,000 under the original budget of £6.5 million.
The investment is part of the Wisbech 2020 vision to encourage jobs, improve the economy and improve service delivery in Wisbech.
Performing the opening honours was Council chairman, Cllr Kevin Reynolds and Leader, Cllr Martin Curtis. They were joined by a host of others, including local councillors, headteachers, partners Fenland District Council, contractors Morgan Sindall and Fusion Project Management, some of the services from Awdry House and officers from the council who helped deliver the project.
Construction was finished earlier this year and teams have been relocating during the summer. Teams have moved from a number of buildings that were in a poor condition or unfit for purpose. A number of these buildings were also leased and this is something the Council is keen to move away from.
Occupants and users of the office are already seeing the benefits of the services being co-located together in this brand new facility
Awdry House is next door to the College and part of a larger investment on the College site, totalling £13 million. As part of the same construction contract, a new technology centre was built to provide the college students with state-of-the-art facilities for engineering, motor sports, motor vehicle engineering and electrical and electro-technical programmes.
Cllr Curtis, said: “This is a substantial investment in Wisbech and the local community. It brings many of the Council’s services together in one place making it easier for the community to access them. This is part of a wider programme of improvements through the Wisbech 2020 Vision that we have been working with partners on to encourage jobs, improve the economy and raise the quality of life.”