A PET SHOP in Carlisle that has been trading for 45 years is closing down.

Nu-Pets on Lowther Street had hoped to have a refurbishment but this has now been cancelled.

Owner Tony Pieri said: "Having reviewed the latest trading accounts and the continued decline in sales, we have sadly concluded, after 45 years of trading that the business is no longer viable and must close."

Mr Pieri, who runs the business with his son Ricky, said: "We have had to standby and watch the slow decline of the high street - obvious by the dozens of empty shops."

He says changes to parking on Lowther Street - from a disc zone to pay and display parking - several years ago also added to his worries.

He said: "It’s not easy to find free parking. Locals are reluctant to have to pay £1 to park their car to come into our shop for a 50p bag of bird seed.

"It’s obvious that Carlisle city centre shopping is in decline as it is in most other towns and cities. The best way to encourage people back is free parking."

Carlisle City Council recently introduced a free after 3pm scheme on some of its car parks to encourage people into the city centre.

It was also included in a list of 100 towns and cities across England which will get a share of a £1 billion High Street regeneration fund.

Councillors have previously said that the city centre of the future must be an attractive space where people not only shop but somewhere they can live, relax and enjoy leisure pursuits.

Meanwhile, Mr Pieri said his shop will continue trading until early next year in order to sell off stock, fixtures and fittings.

He said: "We would also like to take this opportunity to thank those customers who have supported Nu-Pets over many years of trading."