In August 2008, Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria County Council jointly acquired the former Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Broughton Moor.
Covering an area of 425 ha (1,050 acres), the former RNAD site at Broughton Moor is one of the largest brownfield sites in the North West of England. It represents an outstanding development opportunity, situated in a central position at the heart of the West Cumbrian sub-region, in an area of potential that stretches from Cockermouth at the edge of the Lake District National Park to the two West Cumbrian coastal towns of Workington and Maryport.
The two Authorities recognise the potential of this site to bring significant economic, environmental and community benefits to the area contributing to the overarching vision of a community in which everyone shares the prosperity currently only enjoyed in parts of the Borough. The Authorities intend to dispose of the site and are actively seeking developers. A formal marketing process commenced in January 2010 with a preferred development partner named in early 2011.
The site is located just outside the northern edge of the Lake District National Park. It is situated just off the A66, approximately 3 miles west of Cockermouth and 4 miles east of Workington. Due to its rural and undeveloped nature, there are currently no public transport links to or from the site, with the nearest rail links at Workington and Maryport.
The site’s history over the last century has been an eclectic one. Compulsorily assembled from agricultural and coal mining origins, and effectively isolated by the MOD from its immediate locality since 1939, active operations at the site ceased in 1992. Since this time, the site has lain redundant and unutilised. Cumbria County Council and Allerdale Borough Council jointly acquired the freehold ownership of the site in August 2008.
The site has been closed to public access for over 50 years. Over that time it has developed a unique environmental character with a wide variety of species of plants and animals. This factor, in conjunction with the nature of the site’s historic use as an armament storage facility, means that there is a number of ground and decontamination works that need to be undertaken before new development can take place.
The Authorities have consulted widely with local communities and others at regional level. They have established the following broad aims which the development should achieve:
- Economic Benefits through raising the profile of West Cumbria at a regional and national level; attracting inward investment to the area, creating a tourism magnet between the Lake District and the Coast; creating jobs and training opportunities;
- Environmental Benefits through the removal of dereliction, maintenance and enhancement of habitats, biodiversity and landscape character and developing sustainable environmentally sensitive enterprises with green infrastructure;
- Community Benefits by ensuring that economic and environmental benefits to West Cumbria impact positively on local communities.
The key aspirations are to encourage sustainable long term development, sympathetic to the environment and the characteristics of the site. This may entail a significant proportion of development directed towards leisure, tourism and educational related uses. Part of the site has also been identified as suitable for new housing, as enabling development, with the potential for circa 250-275 new homes.
Derwent Forest presents the opportunity to link the popularity of the Lake District National Park with Cumbria's west coast, and to attract visitors and economic activity making a real and sustained difference to West Cumbria's economy.