Following consultations with the community, BAE Systems has now applied to Barrow Borough Council for planning permission to extend Devonshire Dock Hall.
In addition to two new buildings on the Walney Road-facing end of DDH, there would also be a new gate house, security gate, and changes to site access.
The scheme is one of five major new-build projects forming part of the overall site redevelopment programme. The work is needed to allow the construction of the Successor Vanguard submarines, which will be significantly bigger than the original four built in Barrow.
Pending planning permission, this part of the £300m-plus site investment programme is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2018. The size of the Successor project – and arguably its viability – still hangs on the politics of the day following the May 7 general election.
A BAE statement submitted to the council said: “While the Successor programme remains subject to final government approval in 2016, approval has been received for initial works to commence.
“It is therefore essential that work begins now to meet the UK government’s target of having the first submarine in service by 2028. The redevelopment of the site is fundamental to the future of the business and will ensure that BAE Systems stays at the forefront of submarine design, build, test and commissioning.
“The investment will provide a modern 21st century environment for employees to apply the unique skills and expertise that have delivered complex submarines to the UK Royal Navy for over a century.”
The proposed facilities need more space and will require the nuclear boundary to be changed and the site edge to be enlarged towards Walney Road. The proposal includes the relocation of site security gate and office and the repositioning of the car park entrance.
The work will include the demolition of those facilities, the removal of the existing security fence and wall and the removal of the old rail line and bridge. Public consultation events were held in The Forum in November and the Dock Museum in January.
Of the feedback received, the main issues of interest were parking (26 per cent) and emissions (20 per cent), closely followed by the look of the buildings and traffic generation.
Also important to people were ensuring advantage is taken of opportunities to use local businesses, and the importance of training and apprenticeships. Separate applications are proposing new car parks at Cornmill Crossing, Buccleuch Dock Road and Jute Road.
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