Sellafield Ltd is set to create a hub for about 100 nuclear workers in Millom.
The company is exploring the move with Cumbria County Council.
Under the proposals, the town’s library would be regenerated and converted into offices, subject to negotiations and consultation.
The aim is to create flexible workspace for employees of all Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) group businesses.
Rather than being permanently based in the building, workers will use it as a ‘touchdown’ hub.
This will create additional options for people who live south of the Sellafield site.
It also aims to reduce pressure on the county’s roads and contribute to a lowering of carbon emissions by cutting the number of car journeys to and from Sellafield.
Considerable work will be required to upgrade the building. Work is ongoing to finalise the lease arrangements, secure the relevant approvals, and implement governance arrangements.
The county council will be carrying out engagement sessions with library customers and staff to ensure their views are incorporated into any changes to its location.
The Millom hub plan is part of Sellafield Ltd and the NDA’s accommodation and Social Impact Strategies.
Both are designed to maximise community benefit from the Sellafield Ltd decommissioning programme.
Paul Foster, chief executive of Sellafield Ltd, said: “Creating a hub in Millom has long been an aspiration of ours and I’m delighted to see it coming to fruition.
“Moving people off the Sellafield site frees up valuable space for decommissioning and reduces the number of vehicles on the roads.
“But most importantly, it stimulates economic activity in our towns and makes employment opportunities more accessible for local communities.
“This ensures we’re generating maximum social impact for our communities from the Sellafield mission.”
Andrew van der Lem, head of government relations for the NDA, said: “The NDA is committed to maximising the value of all of our nuclear sites around the UK for the benefit of those communities that have supported and enabled the UK’s nuclear programme.
“This development is a brilliant example of how this can be done in partnership with the local community.
“We’ll be explaining how we intend to continue to do this with the publication of our Local Economic and Social Impact Strategy next month, building on the excellent work already happening in West Cumbria.
Sellafield Ltd and the NDA are helping us to achieve our ambitions as a community and this augurs well for the future.
Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland, said: “This is a fantastic step forward for Millom and South Copeland.
“Maximising the value of the Sellafield site in the Copeland economy is imperative for our future economic success.
“This is a big step forward for Millom, for local people and the nuclear industry.
“Relocating Sellafield jobs across the community is an essential building block of the regeneration of towns and villages throughout Copeland and I look forward to working with nuclear partners to build upon this investment in the future.”
Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie said: “Maximising the economic impact of Sellafield beyond the site gates is essential.
“This is a landmark move that represents the biggest development in Millom for a generation.
“I look forward to seeing the project begin so we can build on this success.
“Sellafield Ltd and the NDA are helping us to achieve our ambitions as a community and this augurs well for the future.”
Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council commented: “We’re pleased that Sellafield is exploring options to move 100 staff into the centre of Millom as this will have a fantastic impact on the town’s economy.
“Millom has a very well loved and thriving library service which is growing in popularity and we want this to continue. We are carrying out a number of engagement sessions with our library users and our staff over the next few weeks to ensure that their views are incorporated into any potential changes to its location. As yet, no final decisions have been taken but we are thrilled that Sellafield are working with us to look at options that will help regenerate the town.”
Following Sellafield Ltd’s announcement today, Copeland Council as tenants has confirmed that it will relocate to another base in town once Sellafield Ltd’s plans progress.
Millom Hub, on Salthouse Road, is the council’s preferred location and consultations are currently taking place.
Julie Betteridge, Copeland Council’s Director of Growth and Inclusive Communities, said: “We are fully committed to having a council presence in Millom, and we know this service is valued by the community.
“We are very supportive of Sellafield Ltd’s plans for the St George’s Road building and believe it will be a key component in the regeneration of the town.
“This planned renovation creates an opportunity for us to relocate, with Millom Hub currently being explored as a new home for us, potentially with increased opening hours.
“We will continue to work closely with Sellafield Ltd and Cumbria County Council to strengthen our service provision in Millom.”
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland said: “When I was elected mayor in 2015, one of my commitments was to generate development in every part of Copeland.
“After a period a long negotiations and pressing the case for Millom, I am delighted that Sellafield Ltd is supporting this long-held ambition of mine to get more people into the town to increase footfall, spend and opportunities.
“Married with the desire of Paul Foster and Sellafield Ltd and David Peattie and the NDA to move more workers off the Sellafield site, I had absolute determination that Millom would be included in those plans.
“I am thrilled that they have come through with their commitment to this development which will be the most transformational in a generation in Millom.
“The community richly deserves this inward investment which will pay dividends for years to come.
“This is just the beginning of numerous exciting projects for Millom, which is a key town in Copeland’s family, and I will continue to ensure that Millom will never be forgotten as long as I am Mayor.”
Copeland Council is inviting users of its Millom office to send their views to [email protected]. Additionally, feedback can be given at a drop-in session being held at the current office on Monday, January 27 between 1pm and 3pm.