Whitehaven Bus Station- Former Bus Station Given New Lease of Life

Summers-Inman was appointed in a multi-disciplinary capacity to work on the transformation of Whitehaven Bus Station into a £4.1m creative hub called the Bus Station. Summers-Inman provided project management, cost management and principal design services for the client, BEC, the property development company which is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Copeland and Allerdale Borough Councils and Cumbria County Council.

Part of BEC’s £300m North Shore project, designed to revitalise the town of Whitehaven, the Bus Station was created through the transformation of a derelict site into flexible office space with a café-bar on the ground floor.

The project forms a significant part of BEC’s vision for Whitehaven’s harbour front to become a beacon for sustainable development ahead of Carbon Net Zero.

The existing building was in a very poor state of disrepair, which meant that key ground and structural remediations had to be carried out, together with stabilising works before building could begin.

The team behind the regeneration were able to retain many of the original features of the building despite it being derelict. In addition, in line with BEC’s commitment to sustainability, the building was unique in its approach to energy efficiency.

Photovoltaics were installed on the roof, to generate electricity from photons of light and the project also trialled the use of a direct-current electrical system (a rare way of converting alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) power to run small devices). With the rise of renewable energy which generates DC power, Bus Station used the DC system to run part of the lighting system, some of the IT networks and USB charging points.

The build was a multi-stakeholder, multi-use project and as such presented an array of needs from the partners involved. Managing the priorities of commercial food operators, commercial office clients, start-ups, the local Planning Authority and the developer meant that detailed project management was needed to ensure both the efficacy and profitability of the project. One such example was internal furnishings needed by the different parties involved. Summers-Inman had to ensure that finishing on different areas within the building was managed to accommodate delivery dates of furniture from multiple suppliers, in line with the opening date.

The site had a confined Town Centre location, so stringent health and safety regulations were needed to manage the safety of the public, site operatives and users of highways. Close and collaborative co-ordination with the local authority highways department, who were also carrying out major upgrading of carriageways, footpaths and mains services in front of the site and across its entry and exit points was needed.

Handed over in May 2021, the new hub has welcomed new businesses through the Barclays Eagle Lab which benefit from flexible leasing arrangements, designed to support start ups and scale ups by offering tenant-friendly leasing arrangements. In addition, the Bus Station is home to a 100+seater cafe/bar, The Peddler.

Michael Pemberton CEO at BEC said: “We are delighted with the project.  By regenerating neglected sites and improving public spaces, we hope to attract more visitors to strengthen the local economy of Whitehaven and improve the way the harbour looks. This project was delivered by Summers-Inman to a high standard and we very pleased with it.“

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