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Permanent beach cafe for Silecroft moves nearer

Copeland Council has revealed how a new beach cafe at Silecroft could look. The planned new cafe is part of the Connecting Cumbria's Hidden Coast project - a series of attractions and improvements to the footpaths linking Copeland's coast. This week the council appointed architects Konishi Gaffney to oversee the design of the cafe. The project attracted 59 hopeful bids from across the UK. The winning design has two sheltered courtyards, and is built to maximise the views to the sea and Black Combe Fell. The building, inspired by the pitched slate roofs of the Lake District, will provide sheltered areas regardless of the wind direction.

Copeland Mayor, Mike Starkie, said: “It’s fantastic that this is moving along at a pace. Silecroft and the rest of Copeland’s coast are the best kept secret in tourism – opening up the coast in this way will bring more visitors to this incredible scenery, as well as better facilities for locals. I look forward to sitting in this new café and admiring the landscape.” Silecroft, a stunning expanse of pale sand in the southwest corner of the Lake District National Park, is overlooked by Black Combe Fell to the north and gives spectacular views across the Irish Sea towards the Isle of Man.

The vision for a cafe evolved after residents included it in their Community Plan in 2011. Since then the community-led project has been closely supported by the Economic Development Team at Copeland Borough Council, and a temporary cafe was built in 2017. Its success proved the business case for a permament structure. The appointment of the architects marks a major milestone towards completion of the vision. They will now work closely with Whicham Parish Council and Whicham Community Interest Company to finalise the designs before submitting them to the Lake District national Park for planning permission. It is hoped the new cafe will be open by spring 2021.

The illustrations show the initial indicative designs submitted by Konishi Gaffney. More information on the architects can be seen at www.konishigaffney.com The Connecting Cumbria's Hidden Coast programme is funded by more than £1m from the Government's Coastal Communities Fund and £600,000 from Sellafield Ltd. It includes wider improvements and capital projects including a the new cafe, a climbing wall at Muncaster Castle, 1.4km of new cycle path and 1.8km of new and improved footpaths.

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