Work to transform Whitehaven’s bus station into a £4.1 million creative hub will start this month.

Property company BEC, which is behind the scheme, has announced that Flimby firm Thomas Armstrong will lead the transformation of the building into the Buzz Station, a hothouse for start-ups and cafe-bar.

It will also be responsible for creating the £1.1m Watershed – an office extension in the former bus station offices next door.

The developments are part of the wider £300m North Shore project, spearheaded by BEC, which aims to help revitalise the town.

Plans include a multi-storey car park, five-storey office complex and a four-star hotel.

BEC said the Buzz Station work will build in pioneering low carbon technologies.

David Atkinson, managing director of Thomas Armstrong, said: “It’s a huge privilege to be appointed as the main contractor to construct the prestigious Buzz Station Project for BEC in the former bus station in Whitehaven.

"As a locally based company, we are very excited to be part of the team to commence the first of the works on the North Shore of Whitehaven.

"We are fully committed to delivering this low carbon building that will create a huge economic and social impact to Whitehaven.”

Sellafield Ltd and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has invested £2.6m to assist the bus station conversion and £996,000 for the Watershed.

Michael Pemberton, BEC chief executive, said: “We are thrilled to see construction commence on the site this month. We have chosen our lead contractor very carefully in line with our values and commitment to developing a zero net carbon scheme in Whitehaven.

"We congratulate Thomas Armstrong on its appointment and look forward to seeing our plans come to life under their careful watch.”

The work on both schemes will be carried out at the same time and will take around a year to complete.

BEC’s head of property and development, Rob Miller, added: “Construction will commence at the site in Whitehaven this month and be completed within a year.

"Building both concepts side-by-side instead of two separate build projects will mean less disruption and crucially reduce carbon emissions.”

Mike Starkie, mayor of Copeland, said: “I welcome the appointment of a lead contractor, which is an important milestone in the development of the Buzz Station and Watershed project.

"Copeland Borough Council and I have supported this project since the outset, and the social and economic benefits it will bring to Whitehaven and the wider community are significant.

"We look forward to seeing construction begin and these exciting plans come to fruition.”

Gary McKeating, head of community and development for Sellafield Ltd, added: “The Watershed is a potentially transformative project for West Cumbria.

"It will be fascinating to see the building taking shape over the coming months.

"To grow and diversify our local economy we need to create the conditions for small businesses to thrive.

"The Watershed will provide this by focusing support on people at the crucial early stages.

"This is what our social impact strategy is all about: creating opportunities that change lives.”