Creative Exchange

St Neots, Cambridgeshire


Meeting to agree objectives and understand the site

CABE’s involvement began in March 2006 with an introductory meeting with council representatives and a visit to the proposed site. It was agreed that the CABE enabler should support the project by guiding the council through the process of procuring a design team.

A second meeting and site visit included other key project partners and facilitated a better understanding of the masterplan for Longsands College.

Running a competitive interview process

The CABE enabler advised the council to use a competitive interview process and met with council staff to discuss how to develop the brief. The CABE enabler advised on how to write the brief to include clear expectations and objectives for the building.

The council advertised the brief and received 22 expressions of interest. Five consultants were shortlisted and invited to tender for the design of the new building.

The CABE enabler wrote a guidance note on the evaluation criteria for the council officers before they carried out the final interviews. In August 2006 the project steering group appointed 5th Studio as the lead architect.

Holding a workshop

In September, a workshop was held to discuss the Longsands College masterplan and the emerging design for the Creativexchange building with the client team and the CABE enabler.

Securing extra funding to achieve high quality design

The council and the CABE enabler realised that the initial budget was too low for the high standards of design and sustainability that the council required.

The CABE enabler wrote to CABE outlining the implications for design quality if the budget was unchanged. For an additional £300,000 the building could meet high sustainability targets, be an exemplar of design quality and make a more positive contribution to the local communities it was intended to serve, including the provision of additional community space.

With the CABE enabler’s support, CABE negotiated with Communities and Local Government and secured an additional £300,000 of growth area funding.