Toy store giant Smyths and discount chain B&M are lining up to move in at a Carlisle retail park - potentially at the cost of Homebase.

Plans have been lodged with the city council to replace the DIY store at Kingstown with two new shops, creating “in excess of 60 jobs”.

If plans are approved and the moves go ahead, the conversion would create Carlisle’s fourth B&M store and Cumbria’s first branch of Smyths Toys.

But the plans have thrown into doubt the future of Homebase in the city.

A spokeswoman for the company said that “discussions are ongoing” with the Kingstown retail park’s landlord, M&G Real Estate.

Work on the site could start this year, in order for B&M and Smyths Toys to begin full operations on the site “in early 2020”.

Currently, the nearest branch of Smyths to Carlisle is in Gateshead.

Gareth Ellis, deputy leader and finance, governance and resources portfolio holder for the city council, described the new plans as a “sign of dynamism in the city”.

“It’s a good sign that these businesses want to come here,” added Mr Ellis, who is also a Belah and Kingmoor ward councillor, which includes the Kingstown retail park.

He said that when making a decision on the application, the city council has to keep in mind a balance that must be struck between promoting retail in the city centre and on the city’s fringe.

“The council will have to verify that this won’t draw too many people away from the city centre, while also supporting the growth of our out-of-town retail offering,” he said.

He added that it would be regrettable if Homebase, which has been in Carlisle since before the millennium, ended its presence in the city.

However, he stressed that “it is more important, when commercial decisions are made, to ensure that businesses have  a presence in our retail spaces”.

“That is certainly preferable to the unit standing empty,” Mr Ellis added.

The Carlisle branch of Homebase escaped closure last year, as the retailer closed 47 stores as part of a restructuring following major losses.

No-one at M&G was available for comment.