Whitehaven Bus Station

Barclays signs at £8.6m Cumbria business hub

Neil Tague

The banking giant is to open its 24th Eagle Labs incubator, its first in Cumbria, at the redeveloped Whitehaven Bus Station on 25 May.

Sellafield has provided £5.7m towards the redevelopment of the historic bus station, which was vacated in 2002. The development has been taken forward by Britain’s Energy Coast.

BEC mapped out a project including seven offices, 30 co-working spaces and five meeting rooms at the 1930s Bransty Row building. In all the first floor level of the former station and the atendant offices comprise 7,700 sq ft.

In addition, the ground floor will house a 125-seat restaurant called The Peddler, for which Osprey Management Group secured a licence in January.

The development is also supported by Copeland Council, with Sellafield supporting the scheme through the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. It forms part of the first £55m phase of the ambitious £200m-plus North Shore vision for Whitehaven.

Local contractor Thomas Armstrong, consultancy Summers Inman and architect NORR have been involved in the project.

The Eagle Lab will take up part of the redeveloped building, and will provide start-ups and entrepreneurs with a mixture of co-working, office and meeting space, plus a ‘makerspace’ for rapid prototyping, with equipment including laser cutters, 3D printers and electronics stations.

Barclays will also support entrepreneurs with access to banking services, mentoring and events.

Michael Pemberton, chief executive at BEC, said: “We pride ourselves on breathing new life and purpose into places that have been neglected.

“This is not just another office. The Bus Station is a hybrid workplace blending work, creativity, learning, food and drink in an inspiring and collaborative space. We are thrilled to be working with Sellafield and Barclays to support start-ups and entrepreneurs to innovate, invent and thrive.”

Sellafield’s chief executive Martin Chown added: “We are proud to have invested £5.7 million in the Bus Station development. This is an incredibly exciting development, representing years of work and it really demonstrates an enormous vote of confidence in West Cumbria.”

Jon Hope, director of Barclays Eagle Labs, said: “We’ll bring our Eagle Labs philosophy to Whitehaven, helping to provide start-ups and scale-ups a home and fostering the connections to help them grow.”

BEC is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Copeland and Allerdale borough councils and Cumbria County Council, working with other partners including the Cumbria LEP.

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