Plans for 71 new homes and a visitor centre at West Cumbria’s former armaments depot at Broughton Moor have been lodged with Allerdale council.

Derwent Forest Development Consortium revealed last month that the final touches were being put to the application for the initial development, part of an ambitious wider scheme to regenerate the 1,050 acre site.

The applications are among the first phase of a masterplan for Derwent Forest, the largest brownfield site in the North West, which will see the land developed over a number of years.

The application for the homes says the development would include 23 five-bed, four four-bed and 10 three-bed detached homes, 28 three-bed semi-detached properties, and six one-bed apartments.

They would be built by a developer, as yet unnamed.

The consortium said the ultimate aim was to create 'villages' on the land to create real communities.

The site, to the west of Moor Road, is to the north east of the plots earmarked for 24 self-build houses, a separate project being led by Reiver Homes, part of the Story Group.

The consortium hopes that if planning permission is granted, the homes would be ready in around 18 months to two years.

The two-storey visitor centre would have external viewing terraces and a viewing platform.

The application says: "The purpose of the visitor centre is to begin to allow community access to the Derwent Forest site.

"It will act as a museum to showcase the sites rich history and former use as the RNAD site and will also serve as a memorial to those who lost their lives on site in the 1944 explosion."

It is hoped the centre, if given the green light, will be open within 12 to 18 months.

The Royal Navy bought 425 acres in 1938, six years after the colliery there closed. The navy built a naval arms depot in 1939 and used it until 1992.

It remained vacant until Allerdale and the county councils bought the site in 2008. Derwent Forest Development Consortium, led by executive chairman Nigel Catterson, took on the site a few years later.

Mr Catterson said: "This is a major milestone for us after 25 years of work. If we get the go-ahead for this, it will help unlock the bigger masterplan we have in place for Derwent Forest.

"We are confident this is the right first development, but the ultimate decision is, of course, that of the planning authority.

"I want to thank the architects, a2, and WYG, who have been absolutely superb on this project and my thanks go to the people living around the site, who are positive and supportive of our aims."