Whitehaven’s former bus depot could be redeveloped into a £4.1m business incubator by Britain’s Energy Coast with Copeland Council set to grant planning permission to the project this week.
The project, set to replace the derelict transport exchange on Bransty Row in the town, is aimed at tech, digital, media, and creative start-ups.
The £4.1m scheme has been backed by Sellafield, which is investing £2.6m to help convert the existing buildings on the site into conference and meeting space, health and wellbeing facilities, and eight spaces for start-ups. There will also be a café on the ground floor which will be open to the public.
The bus station has been derelict for a number of years and has planning permission for a residential development, but this was never progressed.
Britain’s Energy Coast is acting as developer; the company is a property development company owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority; Copeland and Allerdale Borough Councils; and Cumbria County Council.
Recommending the project for approval at this week’s planning committee, Copeland Council planners said the scheme would “bring back in to use a brownfield site at a key gateway into the town which, subject to sensitive design and massing, will play an important role in improving the look and feel of the northern area of the town”.
The report added: “The regeneration of this site will enhance the quality of the area and add to the sustainable uses already existing in this part of the town.”
Subject to approval, the development is set to open at the end of 2019.
Jamie Reed, head of community and development at Sellafield Ltd, said: “Ensuring access to long term, sustainable incomes for people in West Cumbria is a key component of our social impact strategy. Central to this is creating a culture where entrepreneurs and business start-ups can flourish.
“The bus station development will provide a modern working environment where creative businesses can connect, collaborate, and thrive together.”
The scheme will sit alongside BEC’s North Shore project, a £55m investment in the town which will feature a four-star hotel, a 400-space car park, and a 75,000 sq ft office building.