Bricks and mortar boards as work starts on £6.5m college site

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.

I had the pleasure to lay the first brick with College of West Anglia apprentices Ryan Gunns of Emneth and Josh Santoro of Wisbech at the site yesterday, 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The new office will replace several outdated properties in the town (4-6 Stermyn Street, 100 Churchill Road and the Queen Mary Centre) and will be located adjacent to the College of West Anglia (COWA).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.

Improving the quality of life and the economy in Wisbech is a major priority for me and the Council. That means making sure people can learn the skills they need to get jobs and access services they need easily. It also means Councils and public bodies need to work together to help the community and bring forward opportunities. Awdry House not only brings a range of childrens services into one place but also provides the opportunity for other organisations to join us. It is part of a multi-million pound investment, including the new technology block, designed to help boost the economy in Wisbech. This is just part of the work going on as part of the Wisbech 2020 Vision that will help the communities in the town and surrounding area.

The new office block will provide council staff with a comfortable, sustainable working environment and allow Cambridgeshire County Council to have a visible presence in Wisbech, with staff operating from the purpose-built space.

The following teams will be relocating into Awdry House (from other Council buildings which can then be sold or the leases terminated):

Wisbech Locality Team (CYPS)
Youth Offending Team (CYPS)
Reaching Communities (YMCA – partner organisation)
Children’s Centres (CYPS)
Family Intervention Team (CYPS)
Statutory Assessment and Resources Team (CYPS)
Social Care: Intake & Assessment (CYPS)
Social Care: Family Support (CYPS)
Social Care: Wisbech & Whittlesey Long Term (CYPS)
Social Care: Business Support (CYPS)
Social Care: Area Wide (CYPS)
Commissioning & Performance (Customer Service & Transformation)
Registration service (Customer Service & Transformation)

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