Work to create a new outdoor events and activity area in Workington supported by the Government’s Towns Fund has got underway.
Led by Allerdale Borough Council, Workington has submitted a bid of around £25m to the Towns Fund for a number of regeneration projects in the town. The council and the Workington Town Deal board, a mix of public, private and voluntary sector partners who advised on what projects should be included, await news of whether it has been successful.
However, the Government as part of a pledge to aid economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, awarded Workington £750,000 in ‘accelerated funding’ to carry out some more immediate projects before the end of the current financial year.
Work on some of those projects – to improve public spaces near Workington Leisure Centre – has now begun with the contractors Thomas Armstrong moving onto the site this week.
This part of the scheme will see the creation of an outdoor events and activity area, including new pathways for walking and jogging and a new paved area to create space for a mobile big screen for public viewing of major events. A new outdoor gym in the same area will follow in due course.
The ‘accelerated funding’ will also be used to:
- Create a dedicated cycleway through the underpass between Central Way and the Brow Top car park, improve lighting and introduce Workington-themed artwork to the walls of the underpass to make it more attractive for users.
- Support the proposed redevelopment of the former Opera House site in the town centre.
Cllr Mike Johnson, the council’s Deputy Leader, said: “These improvements to the town centre will, I’m sure, be welcomed by residents and visitors alike and I can’t wait to see the finished project. The Towns Fund has the potential to really transform Workington and wider west Cumbria and the accelerated funding has allowed us to make a start on our ambitious plans.”
Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington and a member of the Town Deal board, said: “It’s fantastic to see work start on some of our Town Deal projects.
“The Government’s accelerated funding allows us an early start on some much-needed public realm improvements to address legacy connectivity issues - an outdoor gym and performance space to follow, alongside the demolition of eyesore buildings. This is just the start of a really exciting plan to make Workington fit for the future.”
John Coughlan, CEO of TSP Engineering in Workington and chair of the Town Deal board, said: “While we await news on our bid to Government it’s really pleasing to see these works begin. They will make a big difference to all the people who use our town centre and hopefully there’ll be more good news on the way in the coming months. The people of Workington and west Cumbria can now physically see the result of the work being done by the board.”