Plans to transform a 50-acre former factory site into a £150 million hotel, restaurant complex are moving closer to fruition.

Whitehaven Developments wants to develop the former Alcan Pechiney site at Lillyhall into a project that could create more than 500 jobs.

The aim, which was revealed last year, could include a budget hotel with up to 80 bedrooms and a restaurant, a 10-pump filling station with car wash facilities and a drive-through coffee shop and office space.

Simon Towers, managing director of Whitehaven Developments’ parent company NPL, based in Glasgow, said the developer had undertaken a pre-application consultation with Allerdale council and is currently finalising the design ahead of wider consultations and a public information exercise.

He hopes to submit a planning application to the council early next year for the leisure developments, while refurbishment of a large building on the site for employment use which would not require planning permission is set to begin at the same time.

Mr Towers added: "We are pleased with the progress that has been made in the last couple of months and with the rebranding of the former Alcan site to Catalyst Park.

"We are scoping out the requirements for a planning application to Allerdale Council which we are aiming to submit in early 2019."

Whitehaven Developments, a remediation specialist, acquired the site from Rio Tinto Alcan in 2014.

Alcan Pechiney, formerly Pechiney Aviatube and before that High Duty Alloys, made aluminium parts for the aerospace industry.

The factory closed in 2007 when production was transferred to France.

The developer also has plans to build a huge housing development, pub and shopping parade in Whitehaven which are progressing.

When plans for the empty Marchon site in Kells were originally disclosed, Mr Towers said they included 400 homes on part of the land along with a family-friendly pub and parade of shops – including a metro-style supermarket.

The project would bring up to £100m investment to the area.

“We are making real progress on the housing and local services proposal,” said Mr Towers.

“Along with our development partner, we are currently undertaking a master planning exercise and will be presenting these plans to Copeland council during the autumn and if accepted will go to public consultation in January 2019.”

A planning application would then be lodged in early spring, with works expected to begin later that year, he added.