Chiefs from Carlisle’s premier business park have reported great success.

Tony Goddard, non-executive director of Kingmoor Park, today told city councillors that interest in the site had remained strong.

The site, Cumbria’s only enterprise zone, hosts more than 130 businesses with the number of jobs at the site reaching 2,500 this month.

Mr Goddard contrasted the success of the out-of-town business park with the fortunes of city centre shops, not only in Carlisle, but across the country.

He said: “With the advent of the internet the retail market is changing rapidly.

“We have seen the demise of high streets and department stores. It's decimated a lot of town centres. I can’t see that stopping – that’s the future.

“We are going to have to be very careful with our town centres in the future and look for alternative uses because the traditional high street is there no more I’m afraid – the marked trend in the marketplace is either going the discount line, the stack it high and sell it cheap-type operators or the aspirational line for people who want to buy fancy clothes with a label.

“The middle market, Mark & Spencer and so on, that’s the area that’s dying and going over to the internet sales.”

The meeting of the city council’s economic growth scrutiny panel, heard that Kingmoor was attracting inward investment.

The enterprise zone was launched on the business park three years ago as part of a Government-led drive to give local businesses more power.

Ultimately, the economy-boosting initiative aims to bring up to 3,000 jobs to the area and provide space for factories, offices, storage and distribution.

The site has a rent roll of more than £4 pounds and has overcome a series of challenges including the banking crisis of 2008.

The site has also seen inward investment from multi-nationals seeking to establish a network of distribution bases throughout the country, with a growth of parcel companies such as Hermes and DHL delivering orders from the likes of Amazon.

However, the meeting also heard that Kingmoor Park successes have principally been via the growth of local companies, including Thomas Graham.

“We have to adapt to that market as well as the retailers do and we have done that quite successfully,” added Mr Goddard.

“And we are always picking up new tenants because we have got so much space available or had so much space at that time, there’s always a good churn – people moving out and moving in.

“We have got to the point where we are the Hoover of the property market. If you want property, the general public know to come to Kingmoor.”

Among the companies based there is CAD Works Engineering Ltd, which designs and builds heavy-duty machinery for a UK and global market.

Meanwhile, DSD Construction has secured planning permission to build its headquarters there while Sytner (Mercedes Benz) has also got the go ahead to build a new car show room, safeguarding 50 jobs.

Plans have also been lodged to create an 18,000sq ft business village out of reused shipping containers, which would be a first for Cumbria and one of the first in the North West.

Proposals are being finalised for a solar farm development to provide a green energy solution to the site’s private power supply offering between 12 and 15 per cent of the business park’s energy requirement.

This year, Kingmoor Park will celebrate its 20th anniversary with events to be held over spring and summer.