Three years after flood, Carlisle rescue vehicle takes shape

Kingmoor Park developer Brian Scowcroft is among five private sector non-executive directors today appointed to the board of economic development vehicle Carlisle Renaissance.

Scowcroft, owner of the successful 400-acre office and industrial estate outside Carlisle, said: "I am keen to make a difference to Carlisle and would like to work with other like minded individuals and organisations to ensure that this happens. The Carlisle Renaissance Board to my mind is the perfect vehicle for delivering this major project for Carlisle and I believe I have the necessary experience to play a part."

The four other directors from the private sector are:

  • John Nixon, managing director, Carlisle United FC
  • Victoria Farley, general manager of department store Hoopers Carlisle
  • Robin Burgess, chief executive of local media firm CN Group
  • Chris Carr, vice chancellor of the University of Cumbria

The Carlisle Renaissance initiative was borne out of the aftermath of the January 2005 floods and has been mired ever since in re-drafting masterplans for the affected city centre area and a seeming power struggle between councils and economic development agencies.

The board will be led by Bryan Gray, the outgoing chairman of the North West Development Agency, and six public sector directors from Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Vision and the NWDA.

A statement from the NWDA today said an economic strategy for Carlisle had been agreed and the new board would now put in place an action plan for transforming the economic fortunes of Carlisle and its city region.

Cllr Mike Mitchelson, leader of Carlisle City Council, said: "The level of interest in these positions and the calibre of those who put themselves forward is testament to the ambition of Carlisle and the confidence that many have in its potential. Since the floods in 2005 we have worked hard to lay the foundations for renaissance and to recognise the benefits that private sector skills and experience can bring to this process."

Gray has led the NWDA for six years and is due to step down later this year. He is chairman of Urban Splash Hotels, a non-executive director of United Utilities Water, chairman of Liverpool Culture Company and chairman of Westmorland Motorway Services. He is a past Chairman of the Confederation of British Industry (North West) and was awarded an MBE for services to regeneration.

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