A CARLISLE business owner affected by the Central Plaza demolition has hit out at the city’s MP for not doing more to help businesses caught up in the saga.

Laura Waters, who owns Laser Quest and the Total Enigma escape rooms, made her comments as Carlisle MP John Stevenson revealed he now has a “commitment” from a Government Treasury minister on the Central Plaza issue.

Mr Stevenson reported that he had had a “very constructive meeting” last week with Exchequer secretary Simon Clarke on help that could be given by Westminster to those businesses affected when the site around the derelict the Central Plaza was closed off.

But Miss Waters was unimpressed by Mr Stevenson’s announcement.

She said: “We were forced to close in October, and could not open until just before Christmas.

“Central government should be doing more, and our MP should be doing all he can to make sure that that happens.

“Mr Stevenson says he’s a strong supporter of local business. This is his chance to prove that.”

Mr Stevenson was assured that following his meeting with Mr Clarke, the Government was sympathetic to the plight of those affected by the issues surrounding the Plaza.

“I feel the meeting was very positive,” he said.

“It is a very complex issue, which involves different departments and complicated legal issues.

“However, from the meeting, I’ve got a commitment from the minister that he will speak with the Crown Estate, to ensure that they will be as helpful as possible.”

The Crown Estate, a separate entity in its own right but accountable to Parliament, is the body that the Central Plaza site currently rests with.

But the site is not owned outright by the Crown Estate, instead existing in an arcane form of legal limbo called “escheat”.

Mr Stevenson added that he is now arranging a further meeting with the local government and communities secretary Robert Jenrick.

“It is that department that would provide any funding that may or may not be available,” he said.

“I will now be trying to lobby the secretary of state to see whether there can be some financial assistance given to Carlisle City Council.”