Planning permission is being pursued for The Iron Line, a project aiming to transform a popular nature reserve.

The project aims to sensitively enhance the unique sea wall and coastal lagoon off Millom's coast, creating a fully inclusive route across RSPB Hodbarrow and adding a new welcome building, walkways, and art installations.

This development is intended not just to attract more visitors and boost the local economy, but also to improve the area's health and wellbeing offerings and bolster Millom’s reputation as a beautiful landscape to live in, visit, and enjoy.

The planning application for these built elements, forming part of the Millom Town Deal, has now been submitted to Cumberland Council.

This is the second project within the transformative Town Deal programme that has advanced to the submission stage.

Other major projects still in the pipeline include Activating Community Health and Connected Millom and Haverigg.

David Savage, Chair of the Millom Town Deal Board, said: “This planning application follows quickly on from the planning submission for the Arts and Enterprise Centre and demonstrates that the projects are now gaining momentum on their journey towards delivering their stated outcomes for Millom and Haverigg. “The Iron Line has the potential to be transformative for Millom. “Particularly important is the increased opportunity for everyone to access a beautiful and inspirational location, something that is so important for levels of health and wellbeing and commits our area to the principle of inclusive access for all. “There are also the benefits it will bring to the wider economy of the area. “We will look forward to bringing further updates about the two remaining projects as they become available.”

The Millom Town Deal managed to secure £20.6 million from the Government's Towns Fund back in November 2022, supplemented by an additional £8.7 million in match funding, to help Millom and its communities thrive.

The plan for The Iron Line includes a new welcome centre equipped with a cafe and bar, retail space, an events room, neighbouring car parking, and a landscaped area.

Alongside this, wildlife habitats would be improved, a multi-use pathway installed with signage and street furniture, and new bird hides and viewing platforms added.

Tthe existing bird hide is slated to receive a new living roof.

The Iron Line planning application will be decided by the Cumberland Council’s Planning Committee in a future meeting.