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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Student accommodation idea for Carlisle's old Central Plaza Hotel

A Victorian hotel that has stood empty for the last eight years could one day be given a new lease of life – as a home for university students.

Joe Hendry plaza photo
Joe Hendry in front of the Central Plaza hotel

The Central Plaza Hotel on Victoria Viaduct has become a blot on the Carlisle landscape, its rooms gathering dust and the masonry crumbling.

Earlier this year, Carlisle City Council intervened to carry out emergency repairs to the building, leaving the owners facing a bill of around £75,000 for the work.

Now the authority’s new political leader, Dr Joe Hendry, has spoken of his hope that the building can be properly restored, and used as accommodation for University of Cumbria students.

He said: “I think the Central Plaza would be ideal as student accommodation.

“Because it was a hotel, its structure would lend itself to that use.

“It would be a great way of injecting new energy and creativity into the city centre. It would be a good thing for the whole city.

“I intend mentioning it to the vice-chancellor and if the university are interested we’ll look at what we can do to make it happen, perhaps sitting down with the planners, the university and the owners.

“I believe the building is big enough to house at least 60 students.”

In the short-term, Dr Hendry said he would like to see a move to begin sprucing up the area, beginning with a fresh coat of paint for Victoria Viaduct.

Mike Berry, director of estates and IT resources at The University of Cumbria, said: “Suggestions for the location of additional student accommodation are always worthy of consideration, and the university continues to be interested in hearing about such proposals.”

The recent repair work on the Central Plaza – much of it on the roof – was done by the Cumbrian firm Team Northern Construction.

Inside the building, which has been targeted by urban explorers and thieves, there was evidence of a recent arson attack, with the walls of the central wooden staircase and its banister charred and blackened by smoke. Electric cables were also ripped from walls, many stripped back to the bricks.

The main aim of the team working on the hotel was to make it weather-proof.

The owners of the building are now likely to be landed with a bill for £75,000 for the work after they refused to organise the repairs themselves.

A spokeswoman for Carlisle City Council: “The building contract only finished at the end of June.

“We are now in a position to begin the process of costs recovery.”

Have your say

Townie
'I assume you are a property professional- if so your response to this article is cause for concern for the profession.' Yes and why is it cause for concern? I am privy to first hand accounts of the internal structure and it is not in the best structural condition especially at basement level. It represents a Victorian layout, it is a multi levelled Warren and it is miles away from the basic sound and fire standards that we implement in modern hotels. I am not saying it is impossible to renovate, I am saying it is probably beyond economic viability as a hotel (with virtually no parking provision)and competition from two similar buildings within a quarter of a mile. It does not fit the student accommodation model and anyway with recent developments in Denton Holme, where exactly are these students coming from? I stand by suggestion that whomever develops it looks at facade retention and produces a usable building behind it to preserve the historic character of the viaduct area whilst producing a viable building! Whilst they are at it they might like to demolish Tescos as well and do something attractive with that carbuncle...

Posted by Dan on 9 August 2012 at 17:19

maybe we can get rid of this monstrosaby once and for all,just a matter of waiting on a transport plane going to stobart air on its final approach o dear to low,there goes the roof of that Plaza old hotel.

Posted by carlisle man on 3 August 2012 at 14:49

View all 33 comments on this article

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