Historic Bus Station Transformed to an Innovation Hub in Cumbria

Exterior view of the Bus Station

NORR designed the £8.2 million Bus Station conversion in Whitehaven which has officially opened its doors to the public. Located in a harbor town on the west coast of Cumbria, near the Lake District National Park in England, the town’s former bus station has been transformed into a modern working environment to support local businesses as well as a vibrant venue for the local community.

It is the first individual project to be completed as part of the wider North Shore development project, led by BEC, which is a profit for purpose developer with an aim to help revitalize a significant proportion of the whole town through considered development.

“This building was a much-loved local landmark and a gateway building to the town which had sat derelict for almost 20 years, and so we were keen to work with BEC to retain the historic connection and breathe new life into the former bus station to make it a community resource again,” said Robin Stewart, Project Associate for NORR.

“We retained the Art Deco façade with its original detailing and then added new layers of design to sensitively convert the derelict building into a contemporary hub for tech, digital, media, and creative start-ups,” added Stewart. “Adaptive reuse of prominent, yet unused existing buildings helps to retain their historic meaning. It is an environmentally conscious intervention that works to ensure a sustainable future. We can satisfy our client’s brief whilst reducing the carbon footprint of the development and maintaining the character of the building.”

The Bus Station now provides an impressive gateway into the town and will encourage locals, visitors, and entrepreneurs to come together and share ideas.

Michael Pemberton, chief executive of BEC, said: “We are really proud. It’s a culmination of dedicated people coming together, following a passion to make something happen in the town.”

Construction was completed during the Covid-19 lockdown. This is a testament to Thomas Armstrong’s team that was on-site, adhering to Government guidelines, to make sure the project progressed throughout the global pandemic.

Inside the Peddler Bar

Interior of the Bus Station social venue