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Plans for nightclub could rejuvenate Carlisle's Botchergate

Plans to split Carlisle’s empty Mood2 building could be the key to attracting new businesses and starting to rejuvenate Botchergate.

Change: Elsie Martlew says of the Mood2 building: ‘Times change and there’s not the demand for [such large] nightclubs as there was’

That’s according to Castle councillor Elsie Martlew, who said proposals to divide the building into five units could help encourage more people to Botchergate and, coupled with other initiatives, broaden it out from its current focus on the night-time economy.

She was speaking after plans were submitted with the council for two units which could trade as takeaways, one as a professional shop and the final two could stay as bars.

The business that ran Mood2, Herald Inns and Bars, went into administration shortly after its closure in 2008.

The lease on the premises reverted to the owner – a Manchester-based company called Carlisle Assets – which is now also in administration.

“Times change and there’s not the demand for [such large] nightclubs as there was – it’s more cafe bars, so splitting it into smaller units makes sense,” said Mrs Martlew.

“If it was, it would create more business opportunities and give people more choice. Botchergate is one of our priority areas to regenerate.”

She said the county council plan of moving its headquarters to land on the Cecil Street car park, off Botchergate, will be a “significant development.” Following a land swap deal with the city council, they acquired the site and hope to open a new base by 2015.

“It will create something other than the night-time economy and attract people to Botchergate,” she added.

“It will give another dimension to the mix down there. We have to start somewhere.

“As far as Mood is concerned, the principle is good, getting the building back into some use.”

Ron Wood, who runs Le Gall cafe bar and the Border Rambler and Arroyo pubs, used to have the Freedom nightclub in Lancaster Street, which shut in 2002.

He believes that 24-hour drinking was the beginning of the end for nightclubs, arguing that no one would leave a pub at midnight and pay to get into a club when they could stay in the pub until 2am.

A new breed of cafe bars emerged to fill the void, he said, serving food during the day, then become drinking venues in the evening often with a DJ at weekends.

Have your say

I'm not sure a casino would be a good idea - during a recession, and on Botchergate.
Who in Carlisle has the money to spend there? It'd be mostly drunks causing mayhem, so any idea of a James Bond-type classy joint should be put to sleep quickly.

Primark might help people buy a few bits of cheap clothing, but it's not going to tidy the area up, and takeaways and grotty bars aimed at Carlisle's increasingly drunk young, will make the area even worse.

Why not consider demolishing a few eyesores, turning the areas into small green park-type places, or at worst decent looking car parks, and when the economy picks up maybe a developer will want to building a reasonably good looking and profit making building.

Posted by M. Grayling on 16 January 2013 at 02:13

There are far too many pubs/clubs in such a small area in Carlisle. The constant competition is too much. Instead of money being wasted to have a building stand empty for a couple of years why not look at what the city needs. Botchergate a few years bk was thriving, large shops and a shopping precinct. Something similar that coupld create jobs and bring prosperity to the city would shourely be better than yet another short lease club or two.

Posted by Ell Jay on 15 January 2013 at 11:52

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