A Liverpool development consortium has secured planning consent for a new visitor centre and museum on the site of a former NATO arms dump in Cumbria. Tony McDonough reports
A new visitor centre and museum to be built by a Liverpool-based development consortium will chart the history of a former NATO and Royal Navy arms dump.
Liverpool property investor Tower Grange Finance is providing a mix of debt and equity for the project, designed by Liverpool architects Atelier2. A few weeks ago the consortium saw an application to build 71 new ‘eco homes’ at Broughton Moor turned down.
Derwent Forest Development Consortium had sought permission from Allerdale Council for new homes and community facilities, a link to the coast-to-coast cycleway and the removal of miles of military fencing to open up the site for public use.
The visitor centre will serve the 140-mile coast-to-coast cycle route where it is hoped to enter the Derwent Forest site, supporting an improved 2.5km multi-user trail with facilities for cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users. It will also include the first new bridleway in Cumbria for many years.
“We’re delighted with this consent, which will bring new visitors to an area rich in heritage and physical assets,” said Nigel Catterson, chairman of the Derwent Forest Development Consortium.
“Our wider masterplan proposals have always been about opening up the site to beneficial uses like this, with enabling development such as much-needed homes and employment space.
“We continue to review those plans in the light of constructive feedback from various stakeholders, including the council’s development panel. Following favourable feedback, we are working with our professional team as to how we revert with a revised application.”
The approval includes the refurbishment of the original Seaton Road gate house to provide a supervised access point to the site, with a new-build two-story property providing space for a café and museum.
This will chart the history of the RNAD Broughton Moor, from its early days as a colliery onwards to one of the country’s largest and most secret arms dumps. There will also be car parking for 37 vehicles and a bay for a visiting coach. The scheme will include a new ‘trail-head’ facility for cyclists.