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Move to make Cockermouth former fire station a services hub

Cockermouth's former fire service headquarters could be turned into a hub for county council services.

Work is under way to identify whether it would be feasible to centralise office-based services across Allerdale to the Station Road site, which was left empty when the fire service headquarters moved to Penrith last year.

Eric Nicholson, county councillor for Cockermouth East, said the council was considering moving the town’s library into the ground floor of the building and bringing departments such as adult services, children’s services and registrars to first-floor offices.

The move could bring up to 200 extra workers into the town, boosting trade.

Councillor Nicholson said council departments had been asked to assess whether moving into the building would save money, looking at factors including whether their current premises are leased and how much they cost to run.

The work is expected to take at least two months.

The council’s cabinet will then decide the way forward.

Coun Nicholson said: “Cockermouth Library is not Disability Discrimination Act compliant and is too small for the service it needs to deliver. I’d like to relocate that up there.

“The building will hold 200 people. Two hundred people working in Cockermouth is a significant boost to the economy.

“If the county council can’t identify bringing their own services there or finding someone to rent or lease the building then I fear that it will be put up for sale and I’m almost certain it would end up being a supermarket.

“There have been expressions of interest from supermarkets, I understand.”

Alan Kennon, county councillor for Cockermouth West, said: “I hope we keep it in the town and bring it back into use with as many functions as possible.

“We want as many workers in it as possible to fetch a bit more trade into the town. The last thing we want is for it to be flattened and something built on it.”

A council spokesman said: “We are currently undertaking a feasibility study which will help determine the future of the old fire and rescue service headquarters.

“This study will look at a range of options that will then be considered by the county council’s cabinet.

“This is an important site in Cockermouth and whatever is decided, it needs to be right for the council and the people of Cockermouth so we’re working hard to find a solution that will benefit the town.”

Jonty Chippendale, chairman of Cockermouth and District Chamber of Trade, said it would be a boost to the town if jobs were brought to the site but said moving the library from Main Street would be a mistake.

He added: “The whole point of the library movement is to bring the books to the children where children are. That’s on the high street so children pop into the library while out shopping on a Saturday with their mother or father.”

He added that the current plan came off the back of missed opportunities, including the chance for the police station to relocate there.

Have your say

it would make a great Premier Inn & Brewers Fayre

Posted by CoLiN on 3 April 2013 at 13:51

I agree with Jonty, since the police station has moved i never see a police officer on the main street, and if the library was moved what would they use the building for.
After all it was donated to the TOWN AND THE TOWN'S PEOPLE for that purpose.

The council would probably let it be used for another hairdressers of takeaway.

Posted by Tracey A on 2 April 2013 at 10:27

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