A CLOSED city centre pub is set to undergo a major refurbishment with a new licensee at its helm.

St Nicholas Arms, in London Road, has been shut for more than a year but could soon be given a new lease of life.

Planning permission and listed building consent applications have been lodged with Carlisle City Council for an extensive revamp of the Grade II listed building in the city centre conservation area.

It's being taken on by Alison Mitchell who has helped run the Cumberland Inn, in Botchergate, for 13 years and felt it was time to take on a pub of her own. Her daughter Shaunna Boyd, 28, is set to join her in the new venture as manager.

Carlisle born and bred, Alison, 53, has known the pub all her life and is a former customer. She said: "It's one of the most beautiful pubs in Carlisle and I'm thrilled to be taking it over. It used to have a loyal following of regulars and many of them are keen to return.

"It's been a shame to see the St Nicholas Arms shut and there's been a lot of interest from residents in its future.

"I want to give it a new lease of life and create a comfortable but contemporary pub, where customers can enjoy everything from playing or watching sports to having cocktails or a good meal."

Star Pubs and Bars said the pub did not have a long-term licensee and needed investment and a new direction to be viable. It was closed in January last year whilst plans were drawn up and a new licensee was found to help it thrive again.

Gary Corney, regional operations director, said: "As well as being an outstanding licensee, Alison has a great knowledge of Carlisle and understands what people want.

"We're delighted she is taking the helm at the St Nicholas Arms and reopening it once again."

Asked what she enjoyed about pub life, Alison said: "The social side of the business, being around people the whole time and meeting so many different personalities.

"I've always worked in customer service in cafes and shops but only started in the pub trade 13 years ago. I fell in love with working in a pub right away and never looked back, I am thrilled to be getting my own pub at last."

Shaunna has worked in customers service jobs since leaving school and has more recently been worked in The Crown, at Stanwix, and The Cumberland Inn.

She said: "I'm looking forward to being in business with my mum. The St Nicholas is well known in Carlisle and I can't wait to get started. Fingers crossed the plans get approval."

If permissions are granted, the building will undergo its first extensive internal and external refurbishment in 15 years. A new garden area would be created at the front of the pub and it would boast a stylish new look inside.

Plans state: "The proposed development is seeking to refurbish a redundant public house into a contemporary bar with a trade kitchen and with dining areas. The venue has suffered from a lack of investment over the previous decades which, in part, has led to it's closure over the past few years."

This will include new external signage and lighting, a new pagoda to rear and removal part of a wall to open up a proposed pool area. Trade areas and toilets will also be upgraded with new fixtures, fittings and floors.