Fears that the devastating job losses at Edinburgh Woollen Mill won’t be the last to hit the area have been voiced by leading officials.

Council leaders said it was devastating for the area that Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home had collapsed into administration, with the immediate loss of more than 800 jobs.

Prior to the announcement, on November 6, permanent closures to 56 Edinburgh Woollen Mill stores and eight Ponden Homes stores had been made by the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, whose head office is based in Carlisle.

They said there would be 750 redundancies at The Edinburgh Woollen Mill with the loss of 116 roles at Ponden Home. Around 1800 additional jobs are at risk nationally.

Councillor John Mallinson, leader of Carlisle City Council, said: “Obviously the implications of this company going into administration are very worrying. The Castle Street HQ was a big win for the city. It is really significant and symptomatic of the current climate we find ourselves in. My big fear is that Edinburgh Woollen Mill is not going to be the last.”

Councillor Paul Nedved, portfolio holder for economy, enterprise and housing with the city council said it was devastating news for the area and the job losses were deeply saddening.

He said: It’s devastating news. It’s such a strong brand and such local connections here at Castle Street, we will feel it badly.

“All the job losses nationwide and at Carlisle, Penrith and Keswick are deeply saddening.”

He said that the coronavirus pandemic had seriously affected the company’s target demographic, the elderly and tourist trade, and that prior to the pandemic the company had been trading well.

He added: “I just hope there won’t be further redundancies. The impact in the high street really worries me over the next few weeks, unless businesses have an online presence their Christmas trade will be badly affected."

Cllr Nedved said he hoped that the City Council could help reinvigorate businesses once lockdown ends with business grants available including the high street fund and towns deal fund.

He added: “The city is resilient, it has had down turns before. But it is deeply sad news, especially as they are based here and there is a shop here. I hope this will be the extent of the losses and they can get back on track.”

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group transferred their HQ to Carlisle in 2018.

The group owns some of the UK’s most popular fashion, retail and heritage brands. This includes Jaeger and Peacocks, who are not in administration.

More than 200 people are based at Global House, at 5 Castle Street, with teams ranging from product designers, product technologists, buying and merchandising to e-commerce, marketing, human resources and operations. There is also a mock shop, photography studio and high-tech server room, which powers hundreds of its stores.

120 are employed at its global distribution centre in the city at Kingmoor Park, which opened in 2002, while English Street was home to one of The Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s first stores.