Permanent housing rather than temporary camps are in the pipeline for thousands of workers set to build West Cumbria's Moorside power station, a nuclear chief has revealed.

Gary Shuttleworth, the corporate affairs director with Moorside's developer NuGen, told a conference this week that "creating sustainable legacy solutions" are its priority for the multi-billion-pound development planned for land next to Sellafield and its associated housing and transport links.

The firm's previously-revealed proposals for temporary student-style worker villages, earmarked for Mirehouse, Corkickle and Egremont, have been criticised in some quarters.

Giving an update on NuGen's current accommodation plans, Mr Shuttleworth said: "Using and refurbishing social housing stock and new-build developments are integral to our plans; they could be converted from worker housing to family homes after their use.

"In this sense, people would be integrated into the community. Having temporary accommodation would miss the opportunity of integration.

"We do not want a sphere that sits outside the community. Working with social landlords and private developers, we want instead to enhance the sense of pride in the community, and communities to grow in a cohesive way."

Copeland mayor Mike Starkie has previously pressed NuGen to consider a permanent housing solution for the 4,000 workers expected to move into the area during Moorside’s construction phase.

He said: "I have emphasised to NuGen from the very start that I want to see permanent accommodation – not temporary. I do not want shanty towns and nor, I am sure, do our residents.

"What we do want is to see clear plans, good quality buildings and a lasting legacy for future generations.”

Mr Shuttleworth was speaking at the annual New Nuclear Local Authorities Group (NNLAG) Conference, hosted this year by Copeland Council and held at Summergrove Halls.

Chaired by Suffolk Coastal District Council's deputy leader Geoff Holdcroft, it involved representatives from 15 local authorities across the UK that are affected by the nuclear industry gathering to share knowledge and best practice.

Mr Shuttleworth added that NuGen expects that design acceptance of the AP1000 reactor planned for Moorside will be granted "within a couple of weeks".

The consortium has previously stated it plans to lodge a planning application this year ahead of construction starting in 2020 and all three reactors on stream by 2026. However, recent speculation over Toshiba's involvement in the consortium has raised some doubts about the project's financing.