21 Jan

Businesses are being given the chance to become the commercial operator for The Edge - Cumbria's Coastal Activities Centre.

The Edge is being built on land next to the Wellington Inn car park in Whitehaven Harbour and is set to boost the economy, create jobs and attract visitors.

This month Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, which is overseeing the delivery of the project, is opening the tender process to seek a far-sighted, dynamic and creative organisation to run the centre on a commercial basis.

The commercial operator will take charge of a number of different elements of the centre, each with the potential to deliver a significant return on investment.

The three-storey building, which has been designed to look like a giant version of the pebbles thrown onto the harbourside during high seas, will contain changing facilities, a cafe, meeting room, and a gallery/multi-use room for hosting a variety of activities and events. The top two floors will contain high quality en-suite overnight accommodation.

Outside there will be space for parking, as well as secure equipment storage rental units. There will also be a new slipway and an outdoor area for public events.

The commercial operator will benefit from multiple revenue streams created by the cafe and catering offer at The Edge, as well as the high quality overnight accommodation which will tap into the enormous economic potential of the thousands of cyclists who take part in the C2C (Coast to Coast) ride from Whitehaven to Tyneside.

As well as running the 17 en-suite rooms, the food and beverage offer and the provision of community and commercial meetings and activities, the commercial operator will also manage the new slipway, viewing platform, changing rooms, toilets and secure bike/equipment storage.

It is anticipated 15 jobs will be created both directly and indirectly by The Edge. In addition, it is hoped visitor numbers to Whitehaven could increase by up to 10,000 per year with an associated spend in excess of £500,000.

The £4.7m project is being funded by Sellafield Ltd and the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund. It is expected to be open in early 2023.

The process of selecting a not-for-profit community partner to run activities at the site for the benefit of local communities and others across the UK is also due to begin this year. The commercial operator will work with the community partner to help them deliver their work.

John Baker, CEO of Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, said: “This is a fantastic business opportunity for the right operator, as well as the chance to get involved in a project that will really make a difference for the local community of Whitehaven, Cumbria and beyond.

“The Edge is set to be a really special and beneficial asset for the area and we want to hear from commercial operators with the outlook and ambition to match.

“It will bring visitors and investment into the area, but equally it will enhance the lives of local people and give them somewhere to be proud of, have fun, do business and carry out a range of activities to benefit their physical and mental wellbeing.

“Appointing a commercial operator for the building is a vital step in the process of making this vision a reality and I’d urge anyone who wants to find out more to get in touch.”

The deadline for submissions of Expression of Interest is 31st January 2022 with the selection process commencing in February 2022.

Businesses who wish to tender or find out more can do so by emailing paul@cruxassociates.co.uk

More information about the project can be found at www.edgecumbria.com

* The email will not be published on the website.