Plans to build a new nuclear facility in west Cumbria may be opposed by councillors if assurances aren't given about key infrastructure, including roads and health services.

David Southward, a senior member of Cumbria County Council, told the News & Star there are still "many issues of concern" about the proposed Moorside power station.

He has today issued an ultimatum to NuGen to address these issues - including how the development will impact on existing roads, railways and health services - urgently.

It follows calls by a west Cumbrian county councillor to oppose new nuclear development unless bosses agree to invest in vital infrastructure, including health services.

Christine Wharrier asked the question of Mr Southward, cabinet member for economic development, at the authority's full council meeting in Kendal.

Mr Southward - who said a fully functioning West Cumberland Hospital is vital - has now told the News & Star that although health investment isn't the only driver, it is one of the key issues he wants assurances about before backing NuGen's Moorside plan.

If these don't materialise soon, he said the authority may not support the plan to bring new nuclear development to west Cumbria. In terms of health, Mr Southward said: "I would say there are many issues that concern Cumbria County Council about the Nugen development.

"First of all there is the location for the site - on top of Beckermet - which we are not happy with.

"They have talked about the use of rail but are showing no signs of investing in the railway. They now acknowledge they will also need to use roads but the county council is the highways authority and we are failing to see any meeting of minds."

He went on to add that health, as well as housing and landscaping, are also issues they want answers on.

"They haven't really dealt properly with site evacuation procedures. It would be adjacent to Sellafield and all the people already employed there, with 5,000 more people. The hospital is key to that. We have to have a fully fledged hospital up and running," he added.

"The hospital itself may be a game-breaker but at present we are broadly dissatisfied with NuGen's performance across the board."

Mr Southward, Labour councillor for Egremont, went on to issue an ultimatum to NuGen.

"The health aspect is one of several issues. Unless we hear by the turn of the year or early next year that that they have listened to Cumbria I think Cumbria County Council might well be minded to oppose it," he added.

"The question will be will government care about what Cumbria County Council thinks?"

He was also critical of the Government's Success Regime, which is currently consulting on its plans to cut local health services and hospital beds.

He accused it of "working in its own little box" - claiming bosses have not held detailed discussions with either NuGen or the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) about future local health needs, despite a number of major new schemes being on the cards.

Following last week's full council meeting, Mrs Wharrier, a county councillor for Whitehaven, was delighted that her suggestion seemed to be supported by fellow members. She said it was time the voices and concerns of local people were properly listened to.

She told the News & Star: "Us in Cumbria have too long been consulted on what happens in our county when decisions have already been made by London. We need to make sure we lead the way in what happens where we live. Not some bureaucrat miles away with little knowledge of circumstances."

NuGen stressed it is currently working on more detailed plans, taking into account feedback from the recent consultation.

A spokesman said: "NuGen completed the second stage of its consultation on the proposals for the Moorside Project on July 30.

"During an 11-week period, over 3000 people visited 34 consultation events across Cumbria.

"More than 20,000 people visited our consultation website and we reached 50,000 people with regular updates about the consultation.

"Detailed analysis has been taking place on the 1200 plus written responses that were received. The aim of this analysis work is to identify elements of the project’s proposed design that might evolve.

"This review may take several months to complete and will be followed by a report on the findings and further discussions with stakeholders."

Back the News & Star's Save Our Services campaign by signing the petition here or downloading a paper petition here .