The restoration of Carlisle’s civic centre, severely damaged by Storm Desmond in 2015, will continue with the demolition of its Rotunda extension, while the tender process for the full refurbishment of the building will begin by the end of the month.
Following extensive flooding in December 2015, which left the ground floor and basement level of the building under water, an extensive clean-up operation has been completed with nearly 5m litres of water pumped from the building.
However, it remains largely unusable leading the council to propose a full restoration, which will see part of the building demolished to make way for a car park.
Working with WYG, Carlisle Council has put forward a proposal for the building, which includes a new entrance and reception; a customer contact centre; office space; meeting rooms; and additional toilets.
Central to the proposals is the demolition of the existing Council chamber, housed in the octagonal Rotunda annex adjoining to the main building.
The current chamber is described as “not fit for purpose” with poor access and temperature control along with “outdated” audio/visual services. This has led to the room only being used twice every six weeks.
The council estimates it would cost £144,000 to refurbish the chamber, and as a result has decided demolition of the 3,700 sq ft annexe would be the most cost effective option.
This would reduce the building’s overall footprint by 9%.
It will be replaced by 44 pay-and-display car parking spaces which the Council estimates could create an additional £80,000 income per year. As part of the proposals, the Council chamber would relocate to the former contact centre.
Tender documents for the restoration of the building will be issued by the end of this month, and a contract will be awarded in the summer, before a 280-day construction phase gets under way in August.
The plans are expected to be signed off at a Council meeting on 24 April, when a budget for the scheme will also be approved.