Dangerous buildings in Whitehaven make way for office scheme

Posted on by John Cronin

Work is expected to finish later on the demolition of two dangerous buildings in Whitehaven, Cumbria.

Copeland Council has announced that demolition work on two old buildings in Albion Street is expected to finish by the end of today. The buildings, that have been demolished by hand due to their awkward location, are making way for the proposed new office development known as the Albion Square project.

Albion Square is a proposal for a £20m development incorporating quality office space, offering enough floor space to accommodate 350 workers. The proposal is for the construction of a group of office blocks, ranging in height from 3 to 5 storeys, creating a new business hub within an area of Whitehaven that has suffered from neglect in recent years. It has been suggested that a large number of office workers from the nearby nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield could be relocated to offices within this new development.

Copeland Council originally published artists impressions of how the new office blocks might look. However, there was much public criticism and the design was subsequently changed. A local newspaper reported that local residents said the buildings “looked like a bad piece of linoleum” and “Vera Duckworth’s cladding”.

A compulsory purchase order on land proposed for the scheme was granted in 2008 on the understanding that the Albion Square scheme would offer 70,000 sq ft of modern office catering for both small, starter businesses and larger, established operations. As part of a wider £200m Whitehaven redevelopment master plan, Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland, said of the Albion Square development: “The plans for the new Albion Square development will provide new modern office accommodation that will help attract new businesses into the town centre”.

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