WORKINGTON MP Mark Jenkinson has welcomed news that plans for a state-of-the-art innovation centre for Workington have moved a step closer.

The Innovation Centre project, on the town’s Central car park, is part of the Workington Town Deal - £23.1 million of Government funding for projects including a new sports village and unlocking land for development at Oldside and the Port of Workington.

Primarily aimed at digital technology and advanced manufacturing businesses, the new centre will create fresh office space and conference rooms in the heart of the town. The energy-efficient four-storey building will be fitted with solar panels to help meet the building’s electricity needs with air source heat pumps.

The MP, who has been lobbying for more investment in his constituency, said the project would be a “game-changer” for Workington.

He said: “This much-needed space will form a new and thriving hub for businesses, driving growth and innovation – and is a key part of my plan as I set out in 2019, to revitalise town centres, support businesses and improve digital infrastructure.

“There is a dearth of modern office space in the town – and this cutting-edge centre will address that deficit.

“This project perfectly complements other projects for the constituency which are being delivered through Government funding – and demonstrates our commitment to the ‘levelling up’ agenda.

“With the £11.5 million for Maryport through the Future High Street Fund and the £10m Workington Gateway through the Levelling Up Fund, on top of this £23m, we are starting to see these schemes brought to life after 3 years of planning - though, of course, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.

“This constituency has never had a higher profile or more investment. These projects now taking shape will ultimately make our constituency a more attractive place to live, to work, and to do business as part up of a joined-up strategy to bring about positive and meaningful change.”

The NHS is also aiming to build a Community Diagnostic Centre on the adjacent site, offering MRI, CT and ultrasound scans. This is subject to a separate planning application which has already been submitted to Cumberland Council for its consideration.