Whitehaven’s former bus station will be transformed into a multi-million-pound business hub under ambitious plans unveiled by Sellafield Ltd and BEC.
Sellafield Ltd is investing £2.6m to assist the conversion a derelict transport exchange in Whitehaven into a hothouse for tech, digital, media, and creative start-ups called the Buzz Station, a £4.1m scheme.
The scheme, funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, is part of a wider £300m regeneration of the town, led by developer BEC and partners including Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners and Copeland Borough Council. The building will be developed with strategic input from Sellafield Ltd and could be open as early as next year.
Alongside units for fledgling firms, the plan includes:
- conference and meeting space for 75 people;
- an artisan food and drink outlet, open to the public;
- health and wellbeing facilities.
The scheme is part of Sellafield Ltd’s Transformation Programme, which seeks to leverage public and private sector investment to help grow and diversify the west Cumbrian economy.
Jamie Reed, head of development and community relations for Sellafield Ltd, said: “West Cumbria has always been a crucible of innovation, energy, and ideas. We pioneered the civil nuclear industry and we’re leading the world in decommissioning and waste management. Now we’re positioning ourselves for the next wave of growth in the tech and digital industries.
“That means unleashing the energy and ambition of local people to innovate, invent, and inspire. The bus station scheme will provide the ideal environment for collaboration and creativity, allowing the next generation of tech entrepreneurs to lead our economic renewal. This is Sellafield transformation in action – creating partnerships, unlocking investment, and helping to build a diverse and sustainable private sector.”
The building will also work with organisations like the Beacon museum to provide education opportunities for schoolchildren, college students, and adult learners.
It will be linked to existing regional and national economic growth programmes via the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP.)
Head of Property and Development at BEC, Rob Miller added: “This innovative and exciting development will complement the North Shore regeneration scheme, it is the start of a major delivery phase for BEC. We are looking forward to opening the doors to ambitious businesses and the public.”
CEO of BEC, Michael Pemberton concluded: “This is a bold social investment by Sellafield Ltd and underpins commitment to economic diversity in our region. We are delighted to welcome them on board as a strategic partner in the scheme. The overall North Shore plans will be the catalyst for major change in Whitehaven and the Buzz Station will be a valuable asset for the town.”