Albion Square given green light for Cumbria town

Michael Hunt

Copeland Council has approved the compulsory purchase of land in Whitehaven town centre to enable the construction of a new £15m office complex.

The council's executive committee approved the use of a compulsory purchase order to acquire semi derelict land and buildings at Albion Street in the Cumbrian town.

The development is named Albion Square and will be delivered by Copeland Council and West Lakes Renaissance, the urban regeneration company for Furness and West Cumbria.

Albion Square will offer 70,000 sq ft of modern office and employment space and is expected to be home to more than 350 workers once completed.

The offices will be built in two phases with the first phase scheduled for completion in 2012. However, it could be completed earlier depending on progress with site assembly.

Advertising for space is expected to start later this year.

Paul Crooks, Whitehaven regeneration manager for West Lakes Renaissance, said: "With significant investment taking place in Whitehaven and the surrounding area through the £200m Whitehaven Regeneration scheme and the far reaching Britain 's Energy Coast Masterplan, the key to Albion Square will be quality."

Copeland's full council will consider the proposals to compulsorily purchase the land at its next meeting on Tuesday February 24.

Albion Square is part of the town centre strand of the Whitehaven Regeneration programme.

Other elements include the development of Pow Beck Valley, improvements to the coastal area to the south of the town; visual improvements to the town centre; the refurbishment of housing and work to improve transport links and traffic flow.

The programme builds on the success of the multi-million revamp of Whitehaven's historic harbour.

The Britain's Energy Coast Masterplan is a £2bn package of regeneration projects which aims to establish West Cumbria as a UK hub for low carbon and renewable energy production.

In total, the Masterplan is aiming to create 16,000 new jobs and boost Cumbria's economy by £800m.

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