A contractor is needed for the Carlisle Citadels project. Credit: planning documents

Carlisle Citadels contract worth £55m up for grabs, as SRM steps aside

Sir Robert McAlpine has opted to focus on tenders won for a couple of other large infrastructure projects, having worked with the University of Cumbria on the city centre campus scheme for two years.

A fresh contract notice has now been issued inviting expressions of interest to tender for the building stage.

Construction is estimated to cost £45m and the value of the contract is £55m. The total project is expected to cost around £77.5m overall.

The contract is due to start in January next year with an end date of March 2027.

Meanwhile vacant possession of several properties on English Street and Victoria Viaduct has been secured by the university, with occupied properties on English Street to be emptied this summer.

In an update on the project, the university says it has teamed up with Cumberland Council on the transfer of land and property currently owned by the local authority, which is needed for the scheme.

Surveys and ground investigations have been completed, and designs are being finalised heading into the construction phase.

University of Cumbria chief operating officer, Mark Swindlehurst said: “We have a fantastic design ready to go and will now be going through a tender process to select a new contractor with a view to building work starting on site in early 2025.

“It’s an exciting time for the university, the wider city and region, as we move towards realising our vision and the next phase of delivery for this transformational project.”

The Carlisle Citadels campus project has been developed by the University of Cumbria, and Cumberland Council with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.

Finance has been provided by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, and the University of Cumbria.

Money for the Carlisle Business Exchange Centre is also being drawn from the Carlisle Town Deal Fund.

Acknowledging the work undertaken by SRM, Swindlehurst added: “I’d like to thank SRM for all their work over the last two years getting us to this point and I know that they will be supporting us from the sidelines”.

Grant Findlay, executive managing director of building at Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “We will watch with pride as The Citadels campus starts to take shape and will continue to support the project through our supply chain.

“This is an exciting project for whoever takes over the reins and we look forward to seeing the finished campus.”

Day Architectural has designed the scheme, with the project team also including Curtins, Turner & Townsend, OFR, Futureserv, Hydrock, Purcell, Oxford Archaeology, and Urban Green.

To view the plans, search for application reference number 22/0261 on Cumberland Council’s planning portal.

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