Iron Line Competition, Millom Town Deal Board, C RSPB Images
The Iron Line in Millom is the subject of an international design competition. Credit: RSPB Images

Global competition launched to transform Millom’s Iron Line

Julia Hatmaker

Architectural and landscape designers are wanted to turn the area around the Cumbria coastal lagoon into an inspirational attraction.

The competition is part of Millom Town Deal Board’s plans to reinvigorate the community. Millom received an offer for £20.6m from the government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund. Part of that money will go towards The Iron Line project.

According to the competition, which is run by Colander Associates, The Iron Line scheme “aims to sensitively transform the area around Millom’s coastal lagoon and sea wall into an inspirational, fully inclusive and multi-sensory nationally significant visitor attraction”.

That includes extensive landscape design, as well as the creation of a visitor facilities building and redevelopment of the two no-longer-operational lighthouses on the site.

“The Iron Line is an ambitious scheme that sets out the potential for this area to become one of the most unique and beautiful visitor attractions in the region,” said Robert Morris-Eyton, chair of the Millom Town Deal Board.

“What we want is for the competition to bring forward teams with a vision for The Iron Line and how it could become an area that marries together the important and delicate ecology and heritage of the area with art and inclusivity.”

The first stage of the competition closes on 21 October. At that point, five entrants will make the shortlist and embark on the second round, which will include their designs being showcased at a local exhibition.

Winners of the competition are expected to take the project through to completion. Part of that will include developing a costed outline design by March 2022 for government approval. If approval is given, then a detailed design will be created and the scheme will be delivered in March 2026.

The budget for the project is expected to be around £10m, not including VAT. The Town Deal fund will contribute £7m to the cause. Design team fees are not expected to exceed £500,000.

Read more on the competition’s website.

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