Whitehaven's Bus Station development has been recognised with three planning awards, including being named the overall winner in the North West.

The RTPI North West Awards for Planning Excellence awards celebrate outstanding planners, plans and projects that demonstrate the power of planning in our regions, highlighting exceptional examples of how planning and planners have a positive impact on our quality of life in creating exceptional places and protecting our environment.

The Bus Station, a BEC development with funding support from Sellafield Ltd, won the awards for ‘Excellence in Planning for Heritage and Culture’ and ‘Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy’ at this year’s ceremony.

The £8.2million development was also named overall winner and will go on to represent the North West region in the National RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence.

The judges summed up by saying that the Bus Station is "an exemplar project, that is plan led, completed to a high standard, meets the needs of the local community and has been delivered through effective and successful partnerships".

The Bus Station represents the successful integration of opposite elements, that collectively balance each other in a happy equilibrium. Historic and contemporary, vibrant and dynamic yet with quiet concentration spaces, open yet cellular where required. Each element is celebrated, but none overpower.

The development showcases a new model for workspaces with smaller, more dynamic and flexible accommodation and a community that is supportive and collaborative – a catalyst for success – combined with a quality food and beverage operation creating a welcoming and accessible space for everyone.

Presenting the award for Excellence in Planning for Heritage and Culture, the judges said they were impressed with the passion and pride of the partners, the commitment to retaining the original art deco frontage and the adaptability of the project team and delivery partners when faced with the various challenges presented by the site itself and the pandemic.

In presenting the award for Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy the judges said the Bus Station is an excellent example of partnership working, delivering wide ranging benefits to the local community, and were particularly impressed with BEC’s commitment to making sure the local supply chain benefitted both during the redevelopment and in use.

Nick Hayhurst, Head of Planning and Place for Copeland Borough Council, said: “It is fantastic news that the Bus Station has been recognised by the RTPI as an exemplar development at a regional level. The award reflects the hard work and determination by the Council, BEC and partners to secure a sympathetic development that retained the historic façade of the building yet delivered a dynamic and flexible space for both leisure and business uses. The completed scheme has made a huge impact to this part of the town and sets the standard for future development within Copeland.”

Michael Pemberton, Chief Executive for BEC, said: “I feel a huge sense of pride in the development, in particular I feel pride in the way BEC, Sellafield Ltd, Copeland Borough Council, NORR, Thomas Armstrong and our wonderful supply chain came together to design and deliver a truly transformative scheme for Whitehaven. The real winners are the communities in and around Whitehaven.”

Gary McKeating, Head of Development and Community for Sellafield Ltd, said: “To come down the hill into Whitehaven and see something that was derelict now not only vibrant and busy but driving the local economy is so satisfying. It is another example of the Sellafield social impact programme delivering in West Cumbria with our partners.”