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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Cumbrian pub looks set to make way for office block

Bulldozers are set to move on to one of Whitehaven’s best-known pubs.

Whitehavgen pub photo
The Dusty Miller pub

It’s the end of an era at the Dusty Miller pub as plans look set to be approved on Wednesday to flatten it to make way for an £18 million office complex.

Although a Facebook campaign was launched when the Swingpump Lane pub became under threat, only one objector has expressed an opinion to Copeland Council about the plans.

NDA Properties Ltd, part of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, wants to build a disabled car park on the Dusty Miller site as part of its multi-million pound Albion Square plans.

The fate of the Dusty Miller has been uncertain since it was announced four years ago that an office block, housing 1,000 Sellafield office workers, was to be built on land surrounding the pub. Neighbouring buildings were purchased and demolished to make way for the scheme, but it looked as though the Swingpump Lane premises was to remain.

But that changed earlier this year when the NDA revealed it was in negotiations with Chorley-based Trust Inns about purchasing the building.

Brian Hough, NDA’s socio-economic manager, said that to make the Albion Square project even more beneficial, it felt right to “purchase the premises”.

In the planning application, the NDA justified the demolition, stating that the building was in a “poor condition” and was not a listed building.

At the moment a consultation period is still ongoing over the plans, but members of Copeland’s planning panel are expected to agree to pass delegated powers to council officers to approve the demolition when the consultation comes to a close next month.

The NDA, which is leading the delivery of the major four-storey office block on behalf of Britain’s Energy Coast, awarded the contract to Morgan Sindall just before Christmas. It is expected that the complex will open in the middle of next year.

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