Demolition of the former headquarters of ITV Border located at the Durranhill Industrial Estate in Carlisle has started.
The demolition got underway this morning and to mark the occasion Darren Crossley, strategic director with Carlisle City Council, David Jones, from the North West Development Agency and Allan Haile, assistant director of economic development at Cumbria County Council, were present as the excavators moved in.
The Border TV site was purchased, along with part of the nearby Hewden site, using money provided by the NWDA, within a programme of work jointly developed by the Carlisle City and Cumbria County councils to bring underused and constrained employment sites back into productive use.
The former studios were purpose built in 1961 and saw the production of programmes including Mr and Mrs. However, ITV announced a major restructure in September 2007 and by September 2008 Ofcom had given the go-ahead for the merger of Border's own regional news service with ITV Tyne Tees.
The production of a stand alone ITV Border news programme ceased on Tuesday 24 February last year, and was replaced by a service the next day, broadcast from the ITV Tyne Tees studios in Gateshead. Border's main studios at Durranhill in Carlisle were then closed.
Durranhill is situated 1.5 miles south west of the city centre and has an area of over 37 acres. Access to the site is from the outer ring road, which is near to the A6, A69, M6 and the city centre.
Darren Crossley, strategic director at Carlisle City Council, said: "It is vital that the city has a range of employment sites suitable for various uses. These must be in the right locations and developed over a number of years, to fully unlock the benefits of the M6 corridor for local people, businesses, and the economy.''
"Ultimately this is about, ensuring that Carlisle has an adequate supply of employment land in the right place, in the right location and developed at the right time, not only in the immediate future but for the next 20 years and beyond.''
Steven Broomhead, chief executive at the NWDA, said: "It is good to see that the plans are progressing to make this site ready for redevelopment and contribute towards the social and economic well-being of the city."
Allan Haile, of Cumbria County Council, added: "Breathing new life into this site and setting it up for business use will ultimately provide a major boost for the local economy and employment opportunities."