History of HUB

How Have We Got to this Point?

Cherry Hinton has a number of buildings and resources used by various community groups. However, until September 2013, no definitive, central ‘Cherry Hinton Community Centre’, existed. Meanwhile, analysis in 2012 by Cambridge City had identified that Cherry Hinton was poorly served with respect to community facilities in comparison to other Cambridge wards.

A Local Steering Group formed from Cherry Hinton Residents Association consisting of Mark Ashton (City Councillor), Rob Dryden (City Councillor), Stuart Newbold, Tracy Saunders, Sharon Murray and Mo Child was set up 6 years ago to work out strategies to bring better community facilities to Cherry Hinton. It was decided that best way to do this was to extend the Library.

The CHRA Steering Group coordinated a successful campaign which led to the City and County Councils investing around £11,000 of S106 funding to develop a new community room in the library in 2013.

The hub before demolition!

This proved highly successful, and has been used extensively for community activities, meetings and drop-ins, with over 500 bookings per year, and in 18 months the footfall of the library increased from 25,000 to 62,000. Within the last year the Library has hosted a WW1 exhibition, Art Workshops, concerts, monthly community cafes, a weekly craft group and meetings for a variety of organisations.

The CHRA Steering Group then secured funding from Marshalls to develop plans to further expand community facility provision from which the first design for an extension to the Library was produced. At this time the County Council completed reviews of both its library and children’s services and subsequently confirmed that library provision at Cherry Hinton will remain a priority for service delivery. The City Council which owns the land and building then agreed to provide project management resources to help support the community aspirations to extend the library building to increase the community facilities on the site.

The City Council’s Community Centres Strategy completed in 2017, has also identified a gap in access to community facilities and outreach services for high need residents in Cherry Hinton. The Executive Councillor for Communities approved a recommendation to support the development of a community hub in Cherry Hinton Library with local partners, with the proviso that the County Council continue library services there, and a sustainable management solution is found.

The Cherry Hinton branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) are looking to utilise community space lost in the demolition of the RBL building in Fishers Lane, Cherry Hinton. The local branch has made an application to the National RBL Trustees for their consideration. The Cherry Hinton RBL has been working alongside the CHRA, supported by local ward Councillors, to bring about a viable scheme with both the City and County Councils.

A steering group consisting of the following meets monthly to provide oversight and make decisions.

Cherry Hinton Residents Association – Mark Ashton (Chair – also City Councillor), Mo Child (Vice Chair), Tracy Saunders and Prabhu Guptara, Stuart Newbold (Secretary)

Cambridge City Council Officers – Head of Community Services; the Strategic Project Manager, Community Services; the Community Funding & Development Manager, Community Services

Cherry Hinton City Councillors – Rob Dryden, Russ Mcpherson

County Council Officers – Assistant Director, Cultural and Community Services; Cambridgeshire Library Service Manager; Cambridge Area Library Manager

Cherry Hinton County Councillor Sandra Crawford

Cherry Hinton RBL – Stuart Newbold (also Secretary CHRA)

Ingleton Wood Martindales Architects Ltd (IWM) were appointed in June 2018 to develop new plans for a phased scheme that could be delivered within the available budget.

In October 2018, the Steering Group reached agreement on the plans and took out a frozen concept design for public consultation in October/November 2018. There was overwhelming support for the proposals as they create accessible and much needed additional meeting space as well as a café area to help reduce isolation (there is no other café in Cherry Hinton). At this time it was thought that the project would be built in two phases – phase 1 the cafe, 1:1 space and meeting room, phase 2 a second meeting room.

On 21st February 2019 the Full Council approved a capital bid for £767k to remove the need to deliver a phased scheme and to complete the full CHUB extension scheme at the same time. This approval is subject to the community raising a £50k contribution towards the costs.

The HUB was granted planning approval September 2020. City Council approval of it’s share of the funds required was granted in October 2021 so nearly all of the finance needed is now in place. Contracts for the construction have been awarded and work has started June 2023. It will be around June 2024 before it is finished.