A NEW £2m complex featuring bars, a restaurant, function room and boutique suites is planned for a former bed centre in Carlisle.

Daniel White and Jack Lee from the Hell Below bar - and their business partner Matty Boak - are behind the plans to turn a huge building on Victoria Viaduct into a new venue which will be called Within the Walls.

The new complex, which used to be home to the offices of Carrs biscuit factory and a telephone exchange, will employ about 80 people when it is all finished.

Plans, submitted this week to Carlisle City Council, show the ambitious vision the three men have for the former Carlisle Bed Centre and Cookware Company shop.

Daniel, 28, said: "We've been working on the idea since February. We were in Berlin, in our favourite bar, and we thought about taking on the old Cookware Company shop and turning it into a bar.

"But then the bed centre closed and our plans grew."

The men want to reinstate the original entrance, which dates from 1910, to the building, which is next the Central Plaza hotel.

Daniel said: "The bar and restaurant will come first, hopefully in November.

"Hell Below will shut at the start of November and we hope to open the new place a few weeks later. All of the staff will move across with us to the new venue.

"The restaurant will be formal, not fine dining but good service and will offer a good experience.

"Our chef Jordan Whyte-Earl will be able to showcase his talents and offer a different kind of dining experience."

The restaurant will use local produce and will be eco-friendly, cutting down on its plastic usage.

A vegan menu, sharing plates and pizzas will also be available.

Daniel said: "We will have loads more space and be able to offer different things.

"We will have a formal Christmas menu and a casual festive dining menu as well. People are already starting to enquire about Christmas."

Daniel has spent time researching the history of the building and the area and sees its location as a great place to be.

He said: "It's next to the Central Plaza hotel, which might not look nice at the moment, but everyone knows where it is. It is also near the station and will be at the heart of the Borderlands development."

New wrought iron railings will be installed in the alleyway between the venue and the former hotel next door and a floral arch will be put up so customers can drink outside but not have a view of the derelict building.

A function room - suitable for weddings and events - will be transformed in the former fabric mill at the back of the building.

And sandstone arches with booths on the basement level will be opened up and windows restored, where they had previously been boarded up.

Daniel said: "We've started doing some preparatory work and once we've got the planning permission we will do the rest in phases.

"The bar and restaurant will come first."

Work on eight boutique suites on the upper floors will start next year. One of the rooms will be a penthouse which will have views across the city.

One of the suites will be a Hendricks gin themed suite.

Downstairs there are plans for a music venue and an outside area, which could have a stage.

Jack, 24, said: "This area of Carlisle has been neglected and needs something like this to bring it back. It's a huge economic boost for the city.

"Eventually something will happen with the Central Plaza. We know it's a problem at the moment and if the street were to ever shut again then we do have different entrances we can use.

"There are back entrances and a tunnelled entrance."

Some areas within the complex will be sublet to small, local businesses.

Daniel said: "We are throwing a few different things into the mix. A few businesses need some space for storage and we will have Refunk'd/Rock It furniture moving in and showcasing their work.

"I'll be sad to leave Hell Below but it's time to move on and this will be something different for the city.

"In the future we'd maybe even like to have a distillery on site but that's further down the line."

Carlisle Bed Centre closed in March blaming the closure and loss of trade on the derelict Central Plaza hotel.