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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

New shopping park would damage Carlisle city centre - council leader

A major new retail park on the outskirts of Carlisle would damage the city centre, council leader Joe Hendry has said.

Joe Hendry photo
Prof Joe Hendry

Carlisle United has pinned its hopes on a so-called ‘enabling’ retail development at Kingmoor Park to finance a new all-seater stadium.

While Mr Hendry said he would do everything possible to help the club realise it’s dreams, he expressed concern about the impact of a major retail park.

Speaking to the News & Star he said: “I certainly want to help John Nixon to fulfil the dreams of Carlisle United but we can’t do anything to jeopardise the health of the city centre.

“A major retail development outside Carlisle would damage city centre retail.”

Findings of a report into the retail needs of the city were made public last week and confirmed that the amount required would not be enough to finance the stadium.

Government policy dictates that priority for new developments will be given to city centre over edge-of-town schemes.

The council-commissioned report concludes that there will be a need for 200,000sq ft of non-food retail development in the city before 2021. This is less than half the size of The Lanes and would not be enough to finance the stadium.

Carlisle United’s managing director John Nixon has suggested some council officers might need more convincing about the development because they don’t live in the city.

In a radio interview, Mr Nixon said: “We probably also need to convince quite a few officers who work at the council and don’t live in Carlisle that this is the right thing for the city and the club.

“If you don’t live in the city, you don’t have the same heart and feeling; if you weren’t brought up in the city, you don’t have the ambition that a lot of us do.”

Mr Hendry said Mr Nixon could come direct to him if he had any problems with officers and he defended council staff.

“The officers I know are absolutely committed to Carlisle,” he said. “I work with senior officers day in day out and they are totally committed to working for Carlisle.

“You don’t have to be born here or live here to love the city.

“I wasn’t born here and I love the place and hope to be buried here.”

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