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29 July 2016

Plans for Campus Whitehaven take shape with contractor announcement

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Following significant work behind the scenes, today the partnership leading the development of the new Campus Whitehaven are announcing the preferred contractor for the design and build of the multi-million pound project. The announcement means work on site is now likely to begin in February next year.

Following a competitive process Wates have been appointed by Cumbria County Council on behalf of the partners, and between now and the end of November they will be working to develop the designs for the new campus. That will include consultation with parents, pupils and the wider local community who will be asked for their views on the design and layout of the new schools and sports facilities. The design process will also consider how to maximise the educational and broader health and well-being benefits of the new campus approach.

The final designs will then allow the project to move into its next phase, with submission of a planning application anticipated in mid-December. Based on current timelines the campus could be opening its door to pupils in September 2018.

The unprecedented £30million investment in the campus will come from a range of partners including The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Sellafield Ltd, Copeland Borough Council, Copeland Community Fund, and Cumbria County Council. 

The campus proposal will include new state of the art facilities for St Benedict’s Catholic High School and Mayfield Special School and bring them together on the current St Benedict’s site replacing the buildings, radically improving the teaching and learning environment and creating the potential for boosting pupils’ aspiration and attainment.

As part of an approach, aimed at improving the whole community’s health and well-being as well as education, the project includes new, community accessible, sports provision on the campus site.

Overall the project is about investing in the future of West Cumbria, ensuring that there is the knowledge, skills and good health in the community to get the most from the opportunities presented by the anticipated growth of the nuclear and renewables industry.

Jamie Reed MP, said:

“This is huge step forward and we now have a clear timetable for work on the ground getting underway. There is now a fantastic opportunity for pupils and the local community to get involved in the design of the new campus. I am personally very interested to see what they come up with. That we have got to this point is testament to a lot of effort behind the scenes by the partnership. This is great example of what can be done when organisations work together.”

Tony Shenton, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction North West, said:

“The partners leading the development of Campus Whitehaven share a vision to create a state-of-the-art centre for learning and sport, and Wates’ extensive experience in education positions us as the ideal contracting partner to take this forward.

“Wates’ growing presence in Cumbria has seen us launch a significant local economic benefits strategy to ensure that our work is a catalyst for the region’s economy. As such, we will now be working with local supply chain partners and training providers to generate training and employment opportunities throughout the build programme.”

Pete Lutwyche, the NDA’s Chief Operating Officer said.

“This project offers a unique opportunity for west Cumbria which will bring huge benefits to the community for many generations to come. The campus will help raise aspirations and attainment and ensure the area can make the most of the exciting opportunities on the horizon.

“This reflects the share aims of the NDA and Sellafield Ltd to ensure we work in partnership with communities to ensure as many people as possible benefit from the Sellafield decommissioning programme.”

Cllr David Southward, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Property, said:

“This remarkable project has incredible potential to transform the education of young people in Whitehaven and improve the health and well-being of the whole community. With Wates coming on board today the project will start becoming much more real for local people who’ll be able to get involved and help shape what the campus will look like and how it will work. It’s exciting to see the project progress and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the final designs.”

Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie, said:

“I am very pleased that, following the decision to build the campus, the whole process has moved forward significantly by the choice of Wates as the preferred contractor. I think the whole community is so very excited by this project and looking forward to the development of a world class environment of teaching, development and growth, with enhanced sporting facilities for the whole community to enjoy.”

For the Catholic Diocese of Lancaster and Chair of the Lancaster Diocesan Trustees, Bishop Michael Campbell OSA said:

“I am delighted that the Diocese is part of this exciting initiative investing in our young people.”

Willie Slavin, Chair of Governors at St Benedict's,said:

“The Governing Body is delighted to join with Mayfield School on this exciting project. Both schools are dedicated to excellence in education and achieving the best for the children in the most inclusive manner. We are encouraged by the appointment of Wates as the contractor as they have already demonstrated their understanding of the specific demands of meeting the many and varied needs of the children in our schools.”

Gillian Temple, head teacher of Mayfield School, said:

“This announcement marks a significant step towards the provision of our new school. We are looking forward to working with Wates to make our dream become a reality. It will enable our Outstanding Special school to provide new and exciting learning opportunities for many more children and young people, their families and the local community.  This will secure our school for the future as a centre of excellence and provide a focus for research, training and development in special education and inclusivity.”

Following significant work behind the scenes, today the partnership leading the development of the new Campus Whitehaven are announcing the preferred contractor for the design and build of the multi-million pound project.