A NEW southern bypass linking the M6 and A595 could be built as part of a new masterplan for Carlisle.

The ambitious blueprint also suggests up to 10,000 new homes, business and employment hubs, and other essential infrastructure – including parks, schools and health centres – could be created at the southern edge of the city.

The Carlisle South masterplan would see the city grow, extending from its current boundaries in Harraby, Currock and Upperby.

Council officers insist it is a long-term term development plan.

Carlisle City and Cumbria County councils have secured £250,000 to help gather evidence for the plan.

This will see options drawn up for a potential southern link road, between junction 42 of the M6 and the A595 in the west of the city.

Stewart Young Stewart Young, county council leader, said a new road could open up the southern edge of the city in a similar way to how the Carlisle northern development route had in the north and west.

This would then ease traffic in the city, creating a way of getting to the M6 without passing through the busy centre.

Mr Young, also ward councillor for Upperby, said that the city council had come up with the vision as part of a new local plan.

They therefore needed to ensure the infrastructure was there to support that growth.

“If they are going to give planning permission to thousands of new homes we need to make sure the place doesn’t grind to a halt.

“At the moment we end up funneling large amounts of traffic on roads that are pretty much at capacity,” he said.

“I think ultimately there is going to be a need for a southern relief road.

“My argument is that they need to get money from developers who are going to make a lot of money from these houses.”

Mr Young suggested the road would stretch from the Peter Lane area to the Golden Fleece roundabout at junction 42, and said the road is also seen as a priority for the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, is also supportive. He said Carlisle needs to grow and to do that it needs new job opportunities, housing and infrastructure

“We are fundamentally behind this idea that Carlisle needs to grow. It’s absolutely critical. We cannot stay as we are,” he said.

Rob Johnston He said that current projections show Cumbria’s population is ageing, while the working population is dropping significantly.

Mr Johnston believes that the only way to reverse that trend is to grow the city, creating new well-paid jobs to attract working-age people. He said the Carlisle South masterplan could be key to that.

“It’s really important – not just for Carlisle but the whole of north Cumbria – that we put in the infrastructure needed for growth.

“There is an opportunity in west Cumbria around the nuclear industry. I think we will see more people travelling from Carlisle so I think a southern relief road is important.

“The exciting thing is that it’s now being planned. That means that when funding does become available we will be on the front foot. In the past we have lost out because we’ve not had plans in place.”

He said that 20,000 to 30,000

more people would boost spending power locally, boosting the city’s appeal to shops, restaurants and other businesses.

“As a chamber we are hugely supportive of this. It’s exactly the kind of thing we want to see happen,” he added.

The city council’s environment and economy overview and scrutiny panel received a presentation about the preliminary work.

Officers insist that it could be 25-30 years before any large-scale development would take place.

But in the meantime, consultants at Capita have been appointed to draw up options for a potential southern link road.

It is seen as a vital transport route that would feed in to the county’s plans driving economic growth, such as a possible new nuclear development in west Cumbria.

Atlas – a Government-backed advisory group specialising in helping councils plan for strategic and major housing and regeneration schemes – is already working with the councils at this early stage.

Paul Nedved Councillor Paul Nedved, panel chairman, said: “It’s an exciting prospect. This really is a vision and at an embryonic stage.”

Garry Legg, the council’s investment and policy manager, unveiled the ambitious masterplan concept along with Jane Meek, the authority’s director of economic development.

Mr Legg said: “We know in the longer term we need to be getting some new housing and new development in Carlisle and the south has been identified. The north and east of Carlisle is constricted and to the western side there is natural floodplain and the CNDR.”

Councillor Heather Bradley, responsible for economy, enterprise and housing at the city council, said: “We need to ensure that development takes place in the best way, providing quality homes, quality leisure facilities, quality education and employment opportunities and the only way we will do this is through the masterplan.”

Labour councillor Steven Bowditch was keen for the masterplan to be developed to avoid issues elsewhere.