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16 December 2021

Council set to hand over keys for historic Citadels

Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet have today approved the transfer of the Citadels site to the University of Cumbria, as an in-kind contribution to enable the development of a new university campus.

The Borderlands Partnership Board recently announced that they have agreed to invest £50m into this project to regenerate the site. Funding is being provided by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, in order to boost the vibrancy and vitality of Carlisle City Centre and to improve skills and productivity in the local economy. 

The new campus project has been developed in partnership by Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council, and the University of Cumbria, working with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership as a key partner. The plans being drawn up for the 1.25-hectare site will include retention and re-use of the Grade I Listed Citadels buildings, which are of regional and national importance. This will revitalise the historic Citadels and adjacent site and be transformative to the character and status of Carlisle and the wider Borderlands area.

The development of the new university campus will benefit the whole county as well as being a key component in the shared Vision for Carlisle as ‘a thriving centre for business, residents, education and culture’. It will create around 380 jobs by 2041, provide 3,040 learning opportunities in the first 10 years and place Carlisle firmly on the map as a university city at the heart of the Borderlands Region.

Plans for the new campus include the creation of publicly accessible amenity space and new facilities such as a multi-purpose 200-seater lecture theatre, café, exhibition space and a business interaction centre.

Councillor Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council said:

“I’m delighted that we’re transferring our much-loved Citadels over to the University of Cumbria to help secure a future for the site. This is an exciting and ambitious project which will help to raise the profile of Carlisle as a University City so we can develop opportunities, skills, and infrastructure to drive regional growth and attract businesses and younger people to Cumbria.

“The regeneration of the Citadels, coupled with the developments at the Railway Station will see hundreds of new jobs created and breathe new life and vibrancy into the heart of Carlisle by increasing the number of people accessing our city centre on a daily basis.”

University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell added:

“The investment the city and university are receiving is tremendous and will have demonstrable impact to place, people and our economy. Importantly, it will also bring the historic Citadels buildings back into use, and in doing so, the university will respect and reinforce the significance of these assets to our city and heritage. We look forward to opening these new old doors - to our students and to the communities we serve.”

Public consultation on the plans has been taking place over the last few weeks and closes on 19 December. Plans can be viewed online at https://dppukltd.com/uoccarlislecitadels/ and comments and feedback are welcomed.

The redevelopment of the Citadels Site is part of a much wider investment plan for Carlisle that will see over £100m being invested in the regeneration of the city centre over the next five years. In addition to the £50m investment through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, a further £23.5m will be invested by the University of Cumbria and £4m from the Carlisle Town Deal. The Citadels project is complemented by developments at Carlisle Station and investment through the Carlisle Town Deal and Future High Street Funding. It will also provide a £118m boost for the Borderlands economy (GVA).

Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet have today approved the transfer of the Citadels site to the University of Cumbria, as an in-kind contribution to enable the development of a new university campus.