Homes and businesses in Workington have been threatened with compulsory purchase by the bosses behind a new nuclear power station.

Letters have been sent to properties on Hall Park View and Hall Brow and around the Ramsay Brow/Washington Street junction, warning owners their land may be needed for road improvements.

NuGen, the firm behind the Moorside project, is planning its transport links for the project, focused on rail and sea links.

Current proposals involve direct links to the site, supplemented by using the Port of Workington.

If the port is used, the A596 at Workington may need to be widened.

A spokesman said NuGen was establishing who owned the land and properties it may need to use ahead of public consultation next month.

He added that the firm would do all it could to avoid compulsory purchase.

It is understood the properties are the only ones in Allerdale that could be bought up by NuGen.

Others in Parton, Hensingham, Moor Road and Thornhill in Copeland are also at risk.

The spokesman said: "NuGen aims to have no compulsory purchases. This is very much a last resort which we are trying extremely hard to avoid.

"However, as part of the application process, this will remain open as an option if NuGen is unable to arrive at a suitable alternative.

"No decisions have been reached and any plans will be based on feedback from the next stage of consultation."

The transport routes to be used will be concluded after a second phase of public consultation, which begins on May 14.

There will be drop-in events at 28 venues across the county.

They include the Skiddaw Hotel in Keswick on May 31, Distington Community Centre on June 9, Cockermouth Town Hall on June 21, St Mark's Methodist Church in Maryport on June 22, the Bridge Centre in Workington on July 5 and Energus at Lillyhall on July 6.

An exhibition will be on display at the Moorside Information Centre, Whitehaven Civic Hall, throughout the 11-week consultation period.

The firm hopes construction will begin in 2020 and the first reactor of three would go on stream four years later.

A total of 21,000 jobs will be created during the lifetime of the plant, which will have nuclear three reactors.