Carlisle Council finance chiefs have forecast a £325,000 income shortfall from the Lanes Shopping Centre for the year.

A report considered by councillors this week blamed “current market conditions” and “great uncertainty on the high street”.

It also revealed that they had seen “few active enquiries” and that where new lettings were agreed, they were “often on short-term flexible agreements that do not produce significant and certain rental receipts.”

There has also been a shortfall in rental income from other properties, mainly from vacant units being considered for disposal, with “further pressures” expected.

Another factor in the figures is “downward rent review” – an initiative that allows for rent to be lowered in challenging trading conditions.

Speaking at a recent meeting of the Business and Transformation Scrutiny Panel, councillor Trevor Allison suggested finance chiefs should adjust their projections and target to accommodate this “recurring” income shortfall.

Responding to his calls, Alison Taylor, the council’s Corporate Director of Finance and Resources, stressed that these income shortfalls were nothing new.

She said: “A lot of them have been in our budget for years but you would like to think that the economy and the high street would improve.

“We’re not unique in this across the country with (shortfalls in) rental income, recycling, car parking, development control income.

“In the past, we have manged to fund those shortfalls from our base budget, and we have the capacity to take them on board.”

The council monitors the situation throughout the year and Ms Taylor added that “hopefully” these shortfalls would not appear in the next year’s budget.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked David Jackson, commercial director at the Lanes, for more detail about the trading context.

But he declined to comment because he was not at the meeting and suggested that any comments should be directed to those who put forward the points.

Rather than closing at their usual time of 5.30pm, many retailers in the Lanes will be staying open until 9pm on Thursday in the run up to Christmas.