The city council has sketched plans to develop a £50m campus for the University of Cumbria, intended to catalyse the wider regeneration of the historic Citadels district.
The project, which would see the relocation of the university from its home east of the city centre, forms the second phase of a £100m mixed-use redevelopment of the area around Carlisle Railway Station and The Citadels, the two medieval fortress towers on English Street.
The grade one-listed towers were originally constructed in 1541 by Henry VIII, and the council has said it wants to enhance the area adjacent to them, including Court Square and the station’s southern entrance, with improved retail space, better access and higher education uses,
Carlisle City Council started the search for a design partner to draw up plans last September.
The first phase of the wider scheme seeks to improve the railway station at a cost of £15m, while a consultation on proposals for the second phase, to be backed by £50m from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, launches today.
“The redevelopment of the Citadels site presents one of the most important investment opportunities in Borderlands,” said Cllr Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council.
“The site has considerable untapped potential, with the iconic Citadels structures and proximity to Carlisle Station giving excellent profile as the key gateway to the city centre.
“Through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, there is an in-principle commitment to support the development of a new campus for the University of Cumbria at the Citadels.”
The proposals are in the early stages of development and members of the public, businesses, students and other stakeholders are invited to submit their views via the online public consultation that runs from 14 May to 4 June.
The project is being developed by Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council and the University of Cumbria, and Cumbria local enterprise partnership.
“Improving the site can, potentially, be transformative to the character and status of Carlisle and also the wider Borderlands area,” the council said in a statement.
Professor Julie Mennell, vice-chancellor of the University of Cumbria, added: “As an anchor institution for Cumbria, the university’s vision is to raise aspirations and educational attainment, and contribute to the social, cultural and economic well-being and prosperity of our communities, developing the region’s talent and capabilities and attracting new talent.
“The Citadels project, therefore, recognises the significance of the university to the success of the city and vice versa.”