A new 90-space car park in Carlisle city centre remains unopened due to concerns over the crumbling state of the nearby derelict Central Plaza Hotel.

Work to create the new temporary parking area, located on the site of the former county council Lonsdale Building at the rear of the Citadel, began back in June.

While the area was initially planned to open to motorists earlier this autumn - in time for the busy Christmas shopping season - the opening was dramatically thwarted following the sudden closure of Victoria Viaduct at the start of last month.

A spokesman from Cumbria County Council told the News & Star: “The new Citadel car park remains closed until the Viaduct situation is resolved, as the car park is within the debris field zone.”

While the Plaza saga rumbles on, it remains unknown as to exactly when the revamped area will open its gates to drivers.

Last week, secretary to the Treasury, Simon Clarke MP, confirmed he is looking into how the government can help to resolve the Plaza situation, which has paralysed a major route into the city centre and continues to impact on businesses in Carlisle.

The city council has a plan in place to demolish the dangerous structure, but given its position perched at Victoria Viaduct, bringing down the building is likely to be a costly and time-consuming exercise.

Cumbria County Council - which is in charge of the Viaduct road closure - said that under advice from the city council, the closure is likely to remain in place for at least another two months.

Once the green light is eventually given by council bosses for the new area to open, motorists will be available to park 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It will include seven disabled parking bays, two electric vehicle charging points, plus bicycle parking racks.

It will also be pay and display at a rate in line with other nearby car parks in the area.

Users will have the option to pay by phone or buy a ticket from a machine using cash or card.

When construction started earlier this year, councillors hailed the new temporary addition as ideal for key city centre amenities, including the train station, restaurants and the main shopping area.

Cumbria County Council say the long-term ambition for the area is to be rejuvenated as part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, which includes the Carlisle Station Gateway and Citadels project.

Details of that project remain in negotiation with the Government.