Development of the 10,000-home garden village in Cumbria is inching forward after the Government stumped up £745,000 to help finance the project’s business plan.
The £144m mixed-use community south of Carlisle is being funded with £102m from land agency Homes England, as well as contributions of £5m each from Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council and from Government pots such as the Towns Deal and Future High Street Fund.
The remainder was always to come from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
With this latest cash allocation from Whitehall’s New Development Corporation Competition, Carlisle City Council intends to create a business case for the delivery of St Cuthbert’s Garden Village. This would include how to engage developers and other project professionals and take the scheme to fruition.
The bid for Government funding was drawn up property consultancy Hyas Associates on behalf of the city council.
Stephen Hill, founding director of Hyas, said: “St Cuthbert’s requires strong public-private leadership and partnership working over the long term and we have been exploring options for an appropriate delivery mechanism to help achieve this.
“Our bid set out a clear, costed programme of how we can deliver this business case over the next two to three years and with Government support, we can start work on the next exciting chapter for St Cuthbert’s, Carlisle and the Borderlands.”
St Cuthbert’s is one of 14 Garden Villages proposed across the country. Under the plans, a total of 10,325 homes would be built on the development site over the next 30 years, to support local population growth and provide opportunities for community and economic development.
In April, Morgan Sindall clinched the £4.5m first part of a £75m contract to design and deliver the Carlisle Southern Link Road – a key piece of infrastructure that would help unlock St Cuthbert’s. The planned road would connect Junction 42 of the M6 with the A595 at Newby West in Cumbria, improving east-west connectivity to the south of Carlisle, reducing congestion and opening links with West Cumbria overall.
Prior to that, the second public consultation on St Cuthbert’s concluded on 22 December, intended to gather responses from the public on a draft ‘strategic design supplementary planning document’ for the proposed garden village, which was adopted in April.
Preparation of a separate local plan to guide the first development phase is now underway and there will be rounds of consultation on this in the future.
Cllr Paul Nedved, portfolio holder for economy, enterprise and housing, said this week: “St Cuthbert’s forms a key part of the wider growth strategy for Carlisle and the Borderland region. We want to ensure that Carlisle grows in a way that creates quality homes and is properly planned across the coming decades.
“We’re therefore delighted with the Government funding announcement. It’s a further boost for Carlisle and is in addition to the multimillion pounds of investment already received through the Town Deal, Future High Street and the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.”
Carlisle hopes that the business case it creates for St Cuthbert’s would help devise a delivery mechanism “unique in the North of England and that can be used as a template for others to follow”, the council said.