Multinational professional services firm Arup has been appointed to help draw up the masterplan to create a cluster of new villages near Carlisle.

Arup, which has an office in Whitehaven, has been commissioned to develop the St Cuthbert’s Garden Village scheme, which would see the construction of about 10,000 homes.

It will also see the creation of new schools to the south of the city and link in with the city’s proposed new £112m southern relief road.

The development is seen as an important part of boosting the city’s economy, luring jobs, investment, helping secure new facilities across the district and leading to more affordable homes on the market.

Arup will be supported by Hive Land and Planning, who will provide strategic advice, building on work already carried out by Carlisle City Council, which is spearheading the homes vision.

Council leader Colin Glover said: “The master planning appointment is another important step forward for our ambitious plans for Carlisle and the Borderlands region.

“We are a growing city and as part of the garden village proposal, we aim to create increased high-quality housing and employment opportunities, together with new community facilities.

“We want to positively plan for the continued sustainable growth of the city adding to Carlisle’s offer as a place to live and will diversify the city’s overall housing offer.”

Arup’s project manager, Kathryn Donnelly, said: “This landmark project comes at a time when UK faces major challenges in building houses.

“St Cuthbert’s Garden Village will create significant growth for the Borderlands region by providing high quality homes and vital transport links for local people.

“We can’t wait to start work with Carlisle City Council and its partners to support the delivery of this truly transformational project.”

The continued progress on the St Cuthbert’s Garden Village scheme is yet another positive signs for the Carlisle and north Cumbria region.

The Borderlands Growth Deal received a £345m funding boost on Wednesday – with the UK Government pledging £260m and the Scottish government a further £85m towards an initiative which looks to transform the economy along the border.

Last week it was also revealed that commercial flights will begin from Carlisle Lake District Airport in July, a move described as a “game changer” for the region.