Preparatory work on a new multi-million-pound project to build a new four-storey 'innovation centre' in Cumbria will begin this weekend.

Construction of the Workington Innovation Centre will begin on Saturday, July 13, eventually seeing a new building aimed primarily at digital technology and advanced manufacturing located on part of the Central Car Park in the town centre.

From this date, the car park will be unavailable, and some spaces will be unavailable from tomorrow (July 10)

Cumberland Council said the vision is to establish the centre as a 'distinctive focal point for the incubation and growth of entrepreneurial businesses', and will address the lack of modern offices in the town.

The centre is part of the Workington Town Deal - £23.1million of central government funding for ambitious projects ranging from a new sports village to improvements to Workington Port.

The four-storey building will be clad in metal panels with windows to provide natural light, but without losing energy efficiency through the use of too much glass, according to the council.

Solar panels on the roof will help meet the building’s electricity needs and air-source heat pumps will also be installed.

The area around it will be landscaped to improve biodiversity and tie the site to its surroundings, the council added.

They also said the inside space will be flexible and easily reconfigured to meet changing needs of tenants and will include a conference/meeting room space as well as catering facilities.

Tenants will be encouraged to use sustainable transport, hence the building will also have secure cycle storage and shower facilities.

In addition, the centre will provide tailored innovation and entrepreneurship support.

Oxford Innovation Space, which manages many similar facilities across the UK, has been identified as the preferred operator.

The NHS is set to build a £15million community diagnostic centre on the same town centre site, offering MRI, CT and ultrasound scans.

Leader of Cumberland Council, Cllr Mark Fryer, said: “This is another important step forward for the project. 

"There is no supply of Grade A office space in Workington, which limits the town’s ability to attract and retain high-quality firms, and there is a poor supply of small units for early-stage companies or in-movers looking for amounts of modest space.

"There is also a limited supply of co-working space.

“The aim of this initiative is to resolve this, as well as re-energising Workington town centre by attracting increased footfall and expenditure.

"It is exciting to see these projects taking the next steps towards completion.”