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17 December 2020

Ambitious plans for Carlisle Station development are on track

Exciting plans to transform Carlisle Railway Station and its surrounds look set to take a major step forward after Government gave the green light to funding for the project.

Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet have today welcomed confirmation of £20m funding through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal after the business case for the project secured Government support. Release of the Government funding is subject to a number of funding conditions being met.  Cabinet has now agreed to enter the funding agreement with the associated conditions that will see the County Council deliver this ambitious project.   

This is one of the first projects within the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal to have funding approved to move forward into the delivery phase. Not only will the investment transform the station, but it also will strengthen the strategic connectivity to Carlisle and to the wider Borderlands region.

The proposed redevelopment will improve the station environment and facilities and in turn will encourage visitors to come again, help young people to stay, make the station work better for the public, and stimulate investment in Carlisle. The ambitious plans also complement the proposed new HS2 high speed railway linking London, the North and Central Scotland with their improved access to new and extended platforms.

The Carlisle Station Gateway project includes:

Northern Gateway:Partial pedestrianisation of Court Square, enhancements to the space for passengers to enter and exit the station with easy access to ticket purchasing facilities. It will significantly reduce vehicular movements to the North of the station and Court Square, with improved connection to the city centre.

Station Building and Interior: Enhancements to the access to the platforms from the north and the undercroft using an easily accessible stairway. The undercroft will also be enhanced to provide a secure and welcoming entrance to the station from the South. Secure cycle parking, an improved historic entrance from the north, and improved/modernised passenger facilities are also included.

Southern Gateway:  A new southern entrance and car parking facility will be created at the Southern part of the station. A total of 423 station car parking spaces is proposed, including disabled and electric bays. Together with the parking, coach services, rail replacement services and pick-up and drop-off will also be relocated to the southern side of the station. Cumbria County Council has recently acquired the Station Retail Park to enable delivery of the new Southern Gateway.

Enabling Streets and Junctions:  Junction improvements at Victoria Viaduct / James Street, Water Street, Crown Street and Court Square Brow to improve access to the station, particularly for pedestrians.

The project is being developed jointly by Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council working with Avanti, Network Rail and Cumbria LEP as key partners. Cumbria County Council is taking the lead in the delivery of the project to strengthen the role of Carlisle Railway Station in improving connectivity to the Borderlands region.  Further public consultation on the proposed scheme will be undertaken in early in 2021.

Bringing this development forward also aligns with the Government’s objectives for green recovery by encouraging more people to make use of public transport.

Councillor Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “I’m delighted that we have secured £20m of funding from government to improve Carlisle Railway Station and have been successful in acquiring the Station Retail Park to the rear of the station to enable the Southern Gateway improvements to provide new and improved station access and parking facilities.

“This important regeneration project will ultimately encourage more passengers to use the station and create a more attractive gateway to the city centre. This investment demonstrates the benefit of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal for the region and I am pleased that the County Council is taking a lead role in facilitating the delivery of this project working alongside our partners.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said:“I’m very pleased that the £20 million transformation of Carlisle Railway Station and surrounding area will be one of the first projects to go ahead as part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal. 

“The plans to improve connectivity within the region as well as pedestrian access to the city centre, new electric car parking spaces and bicycle facilities will be a fantastic asset to the city.

“We’re levelling up the regions by investing in transport infrastructure across the country and making our towns and cities great places to live, work and visit.”

Leader of Carlisle City Council, Cllr John Mallinson said:“This is another important step forward for the Carlisle Railway Station project and we’re delighted that it is progressing following further government funding. Thanks to all those driving the project forward during extremely challenging times. This is welcomed investment in the city and is a key project within the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.”

John Stevenson MP for Carlisle added: “I am delighted that Carlisle Station upgrade will receive £20 million of funding through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal. The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal has been hugely beneficial to our region; both financially and working cross border with different councils. The Station Gateway project will provide a real boost to infrastructure in our city.”

Rory Kingdon, senior sponsor at Network Rail, said: “We welcome any investment in our network that delivers benefits for passengers and the Borderlands economy.

“The £20m Growth Deal investment to upgrade this magnificent Grade 2 listed station will help transform journeys to Carlisle and beyond. We look forward to working closely with Cumbria County Council on this initiative to attract passengers back to the railway.”

Matthew Worman, Regional Growth Manager at Avanti West Coast, added: “We are delighted that Cumbria County Council have secured funding to deliver the Carlisle Station Gateway Project. Carlisle is a major hub on our West Coast route and these ambitious plans will transform the station, strengthen connectivity, and make it a fitting gateway to the city and Borderlands region.

“Together with our commitment to enhance the customer experience with modern retail facilities, improved waiting rooms and a cycle hub, Carlisle station will be put firmly on the map - attracting more people to visit the city and wider region by train. We’re proud to be playing our part to strengthen the role of Carlisle station, helping to connect people and places to opportunity, and look forward to working with all partners, including Network Rail to deliver this exciting project.” 

Jim Jackson, Chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s Investment Panel, said: “This is a very exciting time for the county as funding for the first projects within the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal are approved. The redevelopment of Carlisle Railway Station will crucially meet the needs of the station’s users, as well as enhance the attractiveness of the station as the gateway to Carlisle City Centre and the wider Borderlands area.

“Cumbria LEP is delighted to have supported the wider development of the scheme through Growth Deal funding, which acted to catalyse the bid for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal and support the wider vision around the Station Gateway.”

Conceptual artist impression of Court Square.

Exciting plans to transform Carlisle Railway Station and its surrounds look set to take a major step forward after Government gave the green light to funding for the project.