A PROGRAMME of transformational projects paid for by almost £20m of government funding will boost Carlisle as the city emerges from the pandemic.

Details have now been revealed of the city’s £19.7 million Town Deal Investment Plan, first bid for by the City Council in October of 2020. It is part of £250 million of investment now pouring to the city.

Politicians from all sides have welcomed the spending, saying that it could hardly have been better timed, given the need for economic renewal as the country emerges from the challenge of Covid.

“It’s been a very, very difficult time, but we’ll use this money to improve Carlisle over the long term – and as a springboard for coming out of covid,” said Carlisle City Council leader John Mallinson.

The planned projects – all now approved by the city’s Town Deal Board, which brings together public and private sector partners – are:

* Start with the Park, St Cuthbert’s Garden Village: A scheme providing new and improved walking and cycling routes that will connect the key settlements of the planned St Cuthbert’s Garden Village with Carlisle city centre.

* Southern Gateway: An integrated programme of investments in active and sustainable travel to better connect key developments in the Southern Gateway area of Carlisle, including the Railway Station, Citadels, Devonshire Street and the former Central Plaza site, and to connect St Cuthbert’s Garden Village with the City Centre.

* Project Tullie: Welcome & Entrance to Tullie House Museum: part of a wider programme of investment at Tullie House Museum, this project will better connect the museum to the surrounding streetscape, increasing its visibility by providing a clear and contemporary point of arrival for visitors.

* Lighting Up Carlisle: Investment in digital lighting equipment to support an expanded and transformed events programme for the city.

* Digital and Community Learning Hub: Refurbishment of the City Centre Library to create an accessible digital skills and community learning hub, and new digital kit and training materials in 13 community venues.

* Citadels Business Infrastructure: 888Msq of hyper fast digitally enabled business interaction and accommodation space, linked to the University of Cumbria’s flagship campus development.

* Carlisle Market Hall: Investment to improve the infrastructure and internal structure in the Market Hall to improve the experience for shoppers and visitors and exploring options to create a food court and events space.

Mr Mallinson said: “The £19.7 million funding sits within a wider package of over £250 million of investment in and around Carlisle. This is great news for the city and will help us grow and support our businesses and communities coming out of the coronavirus

pandemic. The Town Investment Plan is a blueprint for the next ten years and will drive forward Carlisle in the future.”

Story Contracting's Emma Porter, who chairs Carlisle’s Town Deal Board, added: “I have enjoyed chairing the Town Deal Board and am looking forward to getting on with the next stage of developing some of these exciting projects. Carlisle has a lot to offer and we hope these projects will drive forward positive change.”

The University of Cumbria’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Julie Mennell, also welcomed the news.

She said: “These are exciting times for our city and region, with each of these projects delivering significant benefit in their own right. The development of a city centre university campus has the potential to transform the character and status of Carlisle and the wider Borderlands area. However, it is the strategic and collaborative approach taken by all involved which will ensure we deliver tremendous and long-lasting impact for our city, businesses and communities.”

Cumbria County Councillor Cyril Weber represents Cumbria County Council on the Town Deal Board.

“I’m delighted with the range of very worthwhile projects that are due to be delivered as part of the Town Deal, and it has been a pleasure working with all of the organisations involved," he said.

"The county council will be responsible for delivering many of these important projects which will each provide essential support for investment to help revitalise Carlisle and surrounding areas and enable future growth.”

Andrew Mackay, Director, Tullie House Museum, welcomed the support for Project Tullie.

"This investment will make a significant difference to the city’s principal cultural facility and therefore the visitor offer," he said. "The overall portfolio of projects in the Investment Plan provides a very positive statement about Carlisle’s ambition and the planned strategy to create an inspiring ‘Destination City’ for everyone.”

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) and a member of the Carlisle Town Deal Board, said: “I am really pleased that the Board has agreed its investments in these priority projects, which will drive forward the ambition within the Town Deal Investment Plan.

“It’s an impressive package of projects that will be of significant benefit, not just to Carlisle and its people but to the whole county and the wider sub-region.”

Les Tickner, Leader of Carlisle City Council's Labour Group, said: "We welcome any investment in Carlisle." The Investment Plan provides a 10-year strategy for Carlisle’s growth.

* The Investment Plan is now available by on an online Carlisle  City Council link available by clicking here

The £19.7 million funding sits within a wider package of over £250 million of investment in and around Carlisle, which also includes £9.1 million from the Future High Street Fund to support the regeneration of the city centre, £70 million through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal for the Carlisle Station Gateway and Citadels Projects, and additional funding for The Sands Centre, Tullie House, Bitts Park and the redevelopment of Caldew Riverside as well as the £144 million Carlisle Southern Link Road.