Scheme will lead the way in low carbon development

 17th April 2018: Cumbrian property company, BEC, has revealed more detailed information about its proposed scheme at North Shore, Whitehaven.

The scheme

The scheme, being developed with partners including Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners and Copeland Borough Council, proposes a 4* hotel, 400 space multi-story parking and a five-story office development. A further development will see a mixed-use office and eatery geared towards start-ups and innovators. All work will be supported by improvements to the road infrastructure, led by Cumbria County Council.

The 4* hotel will feature five storeys, c.100 rooms and will help realise the long held local ambitions for increased tourism on the Cumbrian coast. It will also be a leading social spot in Whitehaven, bringing forward a new place for post work and weekend drinks in the “sky bay” overlooking the harbour.

The former Mark House site will be home to a five storey, 75,000 sq. ft. office development with ground floor mixed use space – delivering more footfall to the harbour area and town centre. The site will help retain and attract high-skilled public services together with private sector nuclear and advanced manufacturing supply chain employment for the area.

Whitehaven’s parking woes have long been debated by officials and public alike. BEC proposes to both cater for the development and help alleviate existing parking issues with an affordable multi-storey car park on land to the west of North Shore Road, adjacent to Tesco. The parking provision is being designed to come forward in stages, growing with the scheme. Rather than the traditional parking infrastructure, BEC intends to integrate ‘living walls’ into the structure to improve the schemes overall carbon footprint and visual appeal.

BEC is also working in partnership with Cumbria County Council to deliver a highway solution which will not only underpin and service the North Shore scheme but deliver a significant upgrade to the main entrance to Whitehaven town centre from the northern access.

A further development on the old bus station site will see a new hub with flexible office and meeting space that supports start-ups and innovators combined with a wholesome, artisan eatery that is open to the public. Detailed information on this development will be released shortly.

Rob Miller, Head of Property and Development commented: “The scheme has been estimated as a £300m development in total. Funding will be a mix of private commercial finance, social and civic funding, and direct investment from BEC. We’ve worked hard to not only develop exciting plans for Whitehaven, but commercially viable ones too. This is the start of a new era, where Whitehaven and beyond can attract top investment from across the country.”

These developments make up phase one of North Shore plans and make up a £55m investment (approx.). The scheme has the potential to be part of improvements to the town, during a second phase, worth £300m. BEC will be keeping all stakeholders up to date about future plans.

Energy aspirations

The scheme ties in with BEC’s golden thread of low carbon activity and the highest achievable BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating will be targeted for all buildings that BEC develop.

The company is also exploring potential for a ‘net zero carbon’ development, opportunities for energy generation, storage and distribution together with plans that minimise energy import from the gas and power grids while maximising on-site generation using low carbon energy sources. Initiatives such as the living walls of the car park will also support these aims.

Head of Energy and Funding, Joe Martin commented “We want to show that low carbon building improves the financial viability of a scheme in the long run, and doesn’t need to mean higher development costs. A lot of low carbon building is about making your assets work harder for you and making the right materials choices early on. We have embedded low carbon principals into the foundation for North Shore – we want it to be a leading light for environmentally friendly development.”

Consultation 

“Assessment of North Shore sites and their potential for the town of Whitehaven have been a key action for us at BEC for some time,” concluded BEC CEO Michael Pemberton. “We have been patiently considering scheme arrangement and how it will deliver the longest term improvement for the town and I am confident my team, together with our partners, have developed ideas that will bring about lasting positive impact. We are now delighted to be able to share our thoughts to the public and other industry stakeholders over the coming month.”

Views and engagement with the scheme is invited in a number of ways:

  • In person: A dedicated consultation cabin will be in place on the old depot site before the end of this month. Open 2 half days a week the cabin will serve as a drop-in base for anyone to learn more about this scheme.
  • At events: BEC will speak at a series of events, including the BEC Business Cluster in May at Energus and will also hold their own events looking at different elements of the scheme. The first will be on the 24th April at The Beacon Portal at 10am. Anyone who wishes to attend can register here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bec-north-shore-scheme-event-1-scheme-launch-tickets-45055088984 or email events@BECnorthshore.com for more information.
  • Digitally: A dedicated website for North Shore will be launched on the 17th This site will be updated regularly as the scheme develops and has areas for anyone to share their views on the plans. http://becnorthshore.com/

Celia MacKenzie, CEO of Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners commented: “The Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners have always desired quality development around the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Whitehaven – their listed Georgian Harbour.  They are fully behind exciting, innovative proposals of the partnership, that will be of benefit to the community and visitors to Whitehaven.”

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, concluded: “I believe the plans for the North Shore area of Whitehaven will be transformational for the town. They tick every box. The high-quality hotel ties in with our ambitions to increase tourism and give people working in and around Whitehaven another option to stay in town, rather than staying elsewhere and travelling in.

“The office development will attract employment and business to the area, in addition to increased footfall courtesy of the recreational use on the ground floor, while the multi-storey will help solve long-standing parking issues in the town. For many years, Mark House stood derelict and represented an area’s decline. But I believe its demolition and the exciting new plans that we now see coming forward truly signify our town’s renaissance.

“The impact of the regeneration of the North Shore area will be felt far and wide and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners to help these exciting plans come to fruition.”

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