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Carlisle council boss wants £15m Sands Centre revamp back on table

Carlisle City Council’s leader says he wants to see progress made on a potential £15m revamp of the Sands Centre.

Mike Mitchelson photo
Mike Mitchelson

Mike Mitchelson has also targeted growth in the cultural sector over the next year.

He spoke of his plans after the authority set its budget for the next financial year.

The leader said: “We also want to develop projects which would benefit the economic growth and cultural offer Carlisle has to offer.

“We want to move forward with Carlisle Leisure Limited in the development of The Sands Centre and also work on the regeneration of Botchergate.”

Plans for The Sands Centre’s revamp have been on ice because of the financial squeeze on the council.

Original proposals included the creation of a new 25-metre swimming pool there, as well as a new gym, sports hall and school of sport for the University of Cumbria.

Councillors were told last week that the authority had managed to find £3 million in savings.

It has to find another £2.57m in the next four years – a move leaders say can be done while “maintaining a safe and healthy financial future for the council”.

The budget also includes cash for the creation of a ‘hit squad’ to combat dog fouling with the authority doubling the amount it spends on the problem to £155,000 following pressure from Labour and Independent councillors.

Other highlights are:

  • A council tax freeze on the authority’s share of council tax and a pledge for a further freeze in 2013-14;
  • Allocation of £65,000 for one-off events including the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Carlisle Music City and the Queen’s diamond jubilee;
  • Backing – totalling £10,000 – for grants to Carlisle and District Credit Union for a campaign against loan sharks and pay day loans and to Carlisle Churches together;
  • Funding for major schemes, including the new homeless women’s and families accommodation on Water Street, along with disabled facilities grants and investment in industrial estates.

Mr Mitchelson believes the council is in a strong financial position.

He said: “The budget process is always challenging, but we have taken steps to protect key frontline services and have responded to the needs of residents.

“We appreciate the circumstances and challenges our residents are facing in the current financial climate and therefore we have pledged to freeze the council’s share of council tax for the next two years.”

Have your say

J, No, absolutely and most certainly not. Such things could not be done in secrecy.

Posted by Jim on 3 March 2012 at 16:01

Has a deal been done that includes a prime location within the city centre being assembled as a development site to offer further incentives to third party investors involved in the proposed Sands Centre plans?

Posted by J on 3 March 2012 at 15:39

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