COUNCILLORS have been given an update on a major proposed development in west Cumbria.

Members of Cumberland Council's place overview and scrutiny committee met at the Civic Centre in Carlisle on Wednesday (February 28) to discuss the iSH Enterprise Campus (iEC) development.

Andrew Sproat, the programme manager, told the committee it would be in Cleator Moor and the site was bought by the former Copeland Council in 2020.

He said that the development would be in two phases: the first consisting of a central hub building and the second would be new industrial units.

According to his report, the iEC involves funding support of £7.5million from the Government’s Towns Fund and £20million from the Levelling Up Fund, alongside £3.6million from Sellafield and £7million from the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency.

News and Star: Map of the siteMap of the site (Image: Cumberland Council scrutiny report)

In addition there would be a minimum of five years ringfenced revenue income from the site and up to £8million from Cumberland Council facilitated by Public Works Loan Board borrowing with the cost to be met from rental income from the Leconfield site.

Mr Sproat told members the whole budget for the project was in the region of £50million.

Councillor Helen Tucker (Cockermouth North, Labour) questioned the term "meanwhile hub" and Mr Sproat said it referred to a temporary use for the building and added: "It will be an asset on the site. It's not like a Portakabin."

Councillor Linda Jones-Bulman (Cleator Moor East and Frizington, Labour) agreed and said: "So it's like a show house."

Mr Sproat said the plans were at a very advanced stage and the development already had "outline planning permission". He said digital infrastructure would be installed, so they would "not be beholden to BT Openreach", which would deliver high speed broadband.

News and Star: Artist's impression of one of the unitsArtist's impression of one of the units (Image: Cumberland Council scrutiny report)

Councillor Tony Markley (Solway Coast, Conservative), the committee chairman, said their function was to ensure "due diligence" had been carried out and added: "In my view that seems to have been done."

Councillor Michael Eldon (Cleator Moor West, Labour) asked for assurances that the scheme would go ahead because Cleator Moor has had a lot of false starts over the years.

According to the report, 130 full time equivalent jobs would be created. Cllr Eldon asked how many of those would be new jobs rather than relocated from elsewhere?

He also observed that the road network was "unsuitable" for the increased traffic volume and added: "The cycle track you are talking about - it would need to be lit."

News and Star: Map of the siteMap of the site (Image: Cumberland Council scrutiny report)

Councillor Chris Wills (Upperby, Lib Dems) said: "The potential for this looks good but the number of electric charging points looks low to me."

The report states that there would be 10 EV charging points installed at the site. Mr Sproat said: "The design team have been wrestling with this."

He said that there was a possibility the number could be increased. Cllr Tucker said: "If we are trying to be greener we need better public transport."

Members noted the contents of the report and Cllr Markley requested that they be given annual reports on progress made on the project.

He added: "I think it's going to be something that's good for Cleator."