We received notice on Wednesday of the intent of Cambridgeshire County Council to sell the Grade II listed former Mill Road Library building. Notice was given to PACT since we registered it as an “Asset of Community Value” under the Localism Act 2011. This gives PACT or other eligible community organizations the chance to assemble a bid to buy the building should it be sold.
We have made a press release and will be posting on social media etc. as we feel a responsibility to ensure local groups know about this promptly.
John Franks, Chair of PACT, noted “We are disappointed that the building is being sold, as we hoped the County Council would find a new community use for this historic building on a lease that kept it within public ownership. However, this process gives community groups a chance to assemble a bid, and we would love to hear from any group who would like to do that. Cambridge City Council manages this process for any community asset in Cambridge, so we or any eligible group have until Friday 16th September to advise them if a group would like to take this opportunity. Giving the City Council a notification of an intent to bid would cause a moratorium on the sale until Sunday 5th February 2023, in order to give the group the chance to assemble the bid, although this is still a tough goal in just six months. We are sure there would be huge community support for an effort to buy the building, and its location just behind the new Mill Road Community Centre may provide new opportunities for community collaboration. PACT would be happy to hear from any group which is not sure of their own eligibility to trigger the moratorium.”
The former public library was built in the late 1800s and opened to the public in June 1897 and has been a landmark and community asset on Mill Road now for 125 years. It transferred from the city to the county council in 1974 but was closed in 1996. For two years it was used as a shelter for people experiencing homelessness before a lease was agreed with the Indian Community and Cultural Association, which ended in 2019. The recent renovation of the Grade II listed building was carried out by Cambridgeshire County Council with support from the leading Cambridge conservation architect’s studio of Donald Insall Associates, who received a commendation for the work.