Next steps for Carlisle Citadels campus project

Next steps for Carlisle Citadels campus project name

Ahead of a formal planning application this Spring, the team working on proposals to create a new campus in the centre of Carlisle for the University of Cumbria is considering feedback collected recently from the public.

The majority of responses received during the December 2021 public consultation are supportive of the city centre being the site for a new university campus. Most other views are neutral or relate to wider issues that fall outside of the proposed development site.

Consideration of these important comments from residents and other stakeholders are now helping to inform the final proposals for the Citadels campus site before a planning application is submitted to Carlisle City Council, and which is imminent.

Following the appointment of a contractor and the completion of a successful planning application process, it is expected that main construction work will begin in the first half of 2023, with completion currently forecasted for Spring 2026. There will be some site preparation work this year, including archaeological investigations and other construction related survey work.

Helping to raise the profile, vibrancy and economic wellbeing of the city and wider Borderlands region, the prospective flagship campus will drive forward the university’s mission to make higher education more accessible to learners, attracting new people to the region too.

Subject to approval, a new Carlisle Business Exchange along with a Centre for Digital Transformation embedded within the proposed new campus will also help enhance Carlisle as a university city and be a catalyst for companies in developing the workforce of the future, addressing demand for more higher-level skills.

Inspired by its own history and that of the city, the university will retain the Grade I listed Citadels rotundas on the proposed site along with other historic and heritage features, including the majority of the Woolworth’s building. The design seeks to open the site and facilities, in a managed way, to the public, allowing it to be accessible, inclusive, and inspirational.

Transformative to the character and status of Carlisle and the Borderlands region, the Carlisle Citadels campus project has been developed by the University of Cumbria, Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council, and Cumbria LEP as a key partner.

The lion’s share - £50 million - of funding for the project is being provided by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal with £4million from the Carlisle Town Deal Fund and university expected to help meet the £77.5 million total cost.

University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell said: “I have no doubt that this project will be transformative, not only for the city of Carlisle, the county and the wider region but also local communities where we want lives and livelihoods to thrive.

“We look forward to seeing the start of this transformative development taking place over the coming year or so. It will extend our impact and reach now and for many decades to come and is one of our key strategic initiatives, demonstrating our ambition for our region. This has also been recognised by other organisations, which realise how important the university is to the area’s future success and growth.”

Councillor Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council and Co-Chair of the Borderlands Partnership said: “The £50m funding from the Borderlands Partnership board was awarded to enable this ambitious transformational project to be brought to fruition. It’s encouraging to hear that the public continue to be supportive of the proposals and I’m really looking forward to seeing the project start to take shape. The project will help raise the profile of Carlisle as a University City so we can develop opportunities, skills and infrastructure to drive regional growth and also attract businesses and younger people to Cumbria.”

Councillor John Mallinson, Leader of Carlisle City Council said: “The Citadels project and funding sits within a wider package of investment in and around Carlisle. They will all help us grow as a city and support our businesses and communities coming out of the coronavirus pandemic. Carlisle has a bright future and the Citadels project is key part of the transformation.”