Companies in Carlisle could soon be doing business in a complex of recycled shipping containers.

Kingmoor Park Enterprise Zone is getting ready to apply for planning permission to create an 18,000sq ft business village out of the reused containers.

The development would be a first for Cumbria and one of the first in the North West.

Kingmoor Park says the initial phase of the project will consist of 24 offices and a cafe.

The development has been architecturally designed by Revolution Architecture, which is part of Prospus Group, while Galloway Modular Construction, based in Newton Stewart, will convert and supply the containers.

Kingmoor Park managing director Neil McIntyre said he hoped the containers, which will be let out on flexible terms, would provide space for local businesses to grow.

He said: “There are similar projects springing up throughout the UK in Swansea, Newcastle, Tyneside, Cornwall and Bristol, creating business hubs out of these incredibly versatile, weatherproof containers.

“Whilst the initial phase at Kingmoor Park will focus on office space, we will be looking to expand in the future offering a made-to-measure service for upcoming phases that could present opportunities for other uses such as cafés, hairdressers, and even accommodation.

“It’s a modern, quirky way of delivering the demand for office space in Carlisle. It’s high quality, but not necessarily as expensive or committing as renting office space elsewhere.

“They started their life as shipping containers. They have the steel supported frame structure and then the sides are cut out and replaced with windows and they are clad with wood and foam insulation.

“They are massively versatile and we can design and construct them as people wish.”

He said the units were relatively cheap to construct with a lead-time of just six weeks on delivery.

“We don’t need to build something at a high cost and hope that we fill it.”

Mr McIntyre said there were similar container developments around the country, including the Stack development in Newcastle.

The new development will be called ModVillage in reference to its modular construction and the park’s past as a former MOD site.

The containers are made from weather resistant Corten Steel and can be remodelled to a bespoke specification with external cladding, windows, doors, insulation, and internal fit out.

Once the door and window holes have been cut out, double glazing is installed and spray foam insulation applied to the inside. The container offices are lit with LED’s.

Kingmoor Park said the combination of the insulation and solar gain from large glazed areas make the containers very energy efficient and cheap to run.

The containers can be easily extended by bolting them together and can be stacked six high with the bottom container supporting a weight of 150 tonnes.

It is hoped that the first containers will be on site early this summer. Kingmoor Park is inviting businesses that are interested in finding out more to get in touch.

Luke Mazs, director of GMC, said: “This is an excellent example of repurposing, adapting redundant shipping containers for an entirely different use thereby avoiding the need for a massive surplus of these units going to landfill.

“It is an exciting concept that is gaining interest and support on a daily basis.”

Alistair Fell, director of Prospus Group, said: “We are excited at the prospect of working with Kingmoor Park Properties and GMC to provide Cumbria with its first shipping container business village within the Kingmoor Park Enterprise Zone. Similar projects in the UK are playing a vital part in providing economical, and environmentally friendly business space.”