A PROPOSAL for a new development which will safeguard security on the Sellafield site has been approved by councillors.

Sellafield Ltd has received full planning permission for a new building and associated facilities on site to provide an operational hub for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) from Copeland Borough Council .

The CNC Operational Unit will be an on-site deployment facility suitable for responding to the UK’s threat level for international and national terrorism.

The facility will be required for decades ahead and is being designed to ensure that it is fit for purpose for the future and has the capability to respond to evolving threats.

Fundamental to the design is the requirement to enable rapid and effective operational deployment to protect the site, for example by facilitating effective handovers at shift changeovers and to equip and deploy armed police officers ready for duty on the Sellafield site.

The site is on sloping land previously occupied by offices and laboratories which is currently vacant. The planning application states: “It is proposed that the CNC Operational Unit will be a purposely designed deployment facility which will provide the capabilities that CNC need to maintain the security of the Sellafield site.”

The development will comprise a main building two/three storeys high partly built into the embankment owing to the site`s sloping topography. This will be flanked by single-storey ancillary buildings (a garage and kennels) and an upper-level car park to provide for operational response vehicles.

A new access road and visitor parking will be provided to the front with a separate access for the car park to the rear.

Sellafield Ltd said of the plans: “CNC currently operates from several old and out-of-date buildings that are in various locations within the Sellafield site, and this results in operational and cost inefficiencies which supports the need for a new central facility.”

It added: “The development will contribute to the long-term strategy for the future management of the Sellafield site as well assist in promoting the borough as a Centre for Nuclear Excellence.”

Officers had previously recommended approval subject to certain conditions.

Permission for the development was granted by the borough council on July 8.