A strategy to redevelop parts of the Cumbrian town have been unveiled, including the conversion of the former Whittles furniture store building on Duke Street into a technology hub, and bringing forward several sites for housing.
Copeland Council also proposes to build a series of covered ‘arcades’ containing a artisan shops, a food court and other leisure uses between King Street and Strand Street, to connect the harbour with the town centre.
A series of cycle lanes would be developed, as well as a bike hub on the former Barclays Bank site, which would offer sales, hire, storage and repairs of bikes and e-bikes, together with a juice bar and guided tours.
Meanwhile, a seafood restaurant would be built on Marlborough Street, and a package of other sites would be compiled for potential redevelopment into residential uses, targeting young professionals and post-graduate students, the council said in a statement.
The plans are being launched for consultation today, and the council intends to bid for around £15m from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund to help it deliver its estimated £25m vision. Copeland was among councils selected last July for the final phase of the £1bn national pot.
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “While repurposing unused buildings, we intend to create a more cohesive town that utilises King Street and the harbour as a united space and offers residents, workers and visitors new and quality experiences in food, digital, culture, health and wellbeing.”
The regeneration plans are also expected to capitalise on Whitehaven’s position on the Coast to Coast (C2C) Cycle Route, a 140-mile cycle route that opened in 1994.
Starkie said: “[The plans] would improve the start of the C2C as a flagship of the town, drawing in leisure and cycle tourism and make the most of Whitehaven’s position of hosting three national cycle routes and linking into our Connecting Cumbria’s Hidden Coast opportunity.”
The council has spent the past nine months developing the plans, together with partners including Cumbria LEP, Cumbria County Council, Whitehaven Town Council, Whitehaven Chamber of Trade, Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, BEC and Sellafield Ltd.
The deadline for the council’s Future High Streets Fund bid is June 5 and the Government is expected to announce the winners in the autumn. If the bid is successful, Copeland will start appointing a project team and aim to deliver the scheme by 2024, it said.