The Edge, Whitehaven Habour Commissioners, P Whitehaven Habour Commissioners
Ian Grice of Northmill Associates designed The Edge - Cumbria Coastal Activities Centre. Credit: via Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners

Thomas Armstrong to build £4.5m Whitehaven coastal activities centre

Julia Hatmaker

The Cumbria construction company will start work on The Edge in November. The building is slated to open in December 2022.

Designed by Ian Grice of Northmill Associates for Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, The Edge is a three-storey, approximately 14,000 sq ft building. It contains an events space, recreational facilities, public toilets, a café and 17 bedrooms for overnight accommodation. It will be located along Whitehaven’s historic harbour.

The Edge’s design is inspired by pebbles that wash up onto the beach from the sea. The project is funded by Sellafield and The Coastal Communities Fund.

This is the second major project in the area for Thomas Armstrong, which also worked on the area’s bus station.

“I think the work Thomas Armstrong has done on the bus station development is incredible so we’re very excited to be working with them to help us bring The Edge to life,” said Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners chief executive John Baker.

“We’re working closely with them to make sure visitors to the harbour will still have access to both the beach and the lighthouse while work is taking place,” Baker continued.

“The passion of the people of Whitehaven to see the town and harbour regenerated is remarkable. It’s something that inspires us and is driving all of the improvements we’re making to the harbour. The Edge is part of that and we’re looking forward to it.”

The Edge 2, Whitehaven Habour Commissioners, P Whitehaven Habour Commissioners

The Edge will have public toilets, a cafe and space for events. Credit: via Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners

Baker told Place North West that the goal of The Edge was to help more people to engage with the West Cumbria Coast. He also wants The Edge to encourage cyclists doing the coast-to-coast challenge to spend a little more time in Whitehaven. Having an eye-catching building was key to that.

“We very much wanted a stunning building that would take the eye and attract people to it,” he said.

Baker noted that the design may not be to everyone’s taste but that he felt it was a good move for the town.

“It’s modern but has a nod to what’s going on in its surroundings, which we think is very important,” he said. “Whitehaven has so much history to it, but we also as a town need to modernise and move to the future.”

The development team for The Edge includes Paul Crooks of Crux Associates as project manager and Stephen Jackson of Baker Mallett as QS. Thomas Armstrong is the principal design and build contractor for the project.

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