DESIGN plans have shown a new Silecroft beach cafe might look.

Architects Konishi Gaffney were contracted by Copeland Borough Council this week to oversee the design of the cafe, after 59 hopeful bids from across the UK were considered.

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.

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, funded by the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund and Sellafield Ltd.

The vision for a cafe evolved after residents included it in their 2011 Community Plan. 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 helped form the business case for a more permanent structure.

The Edinburgh-based Konishi Gaffney group will work closely with Whicham Parish Council and Whicham Community Interest Company to finalise the designs before submitting them for planning permission. Developers hope the new cafe will open by spring 2021.

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.”