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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Carlisle council agrees to invest up to £100,000 in new business centre

A move to invest £100,000 in a proposed Business Interaction Centre in Carlisle has been agreed.

Paternoster Row photo
Paternoster Row in Carlisle

The decision was taken by members of Carlisle City Council’s Executive after it was looked into by the Environment and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Panel last month.

A council-owned property in Paternoster Row, which is currently being used by the University of Cumbria, would be refurbished with the university and council as partners.

Councillor Colin Glover, the deputy leader of the council, said that there had been a discussion at the scrutiny committee meeting.

He added that the money would not be used to renovate the building or carry out any repairs.

“The council will contribute up to £100,000,” he said. “The report was very clear – this will be a contribution to have a fully operational Business Interaction Centre. The main partner would be the University of Cumbria – in particular the business school.”

Mr Glover said it was hoped that existing businesses would be encouraged to interact with the university.

When the matter was discussed by the scrutiny panel on Thursday, January 17, concerns were raised over the proposed partnership.

Speaking at the time Councillor James Bainbridge asked whether other partners would be involved and said that previous partnerships with the university had not worked out.

However, Dr Stephen Bulman, the associate dean for business at the university who was present at last month’s meeting, said that John Stevenson MP, the chamber of commerce and private companies had all been consulted.

And Jane Meek, the council’s director of economic development, told the panel that she realised there were issues but added that the university had put itself onto a sound footing.

It is understood that the centre would help retain graduates in the city, provide undergraduate business courses and work experience opportunities for students, as well as helping new businesses to start up.

The Executive agreed with the findings of the report and a programme of works is due to be agreed with the university to deal with the dilapidated condition of the building and the eventual delivery of the refurbished centre.

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