The frustration felt over the knock-on effects of the ongoing Central Plaza saga were vented at two senior Carlisle politicians.

On Friday MP for Carlisle John Stevenson and Carlisle City Council leader John Mallinson met with some of those most directly affected by the Victoria Viaduct closure, made necessary by the crumbling former hotel being declared unsafe.

With some in attendance having already lost their jobs as a result of the closure, many at the meeting were visibly frustrated at what they say is a lack of action from authorities on the Plaza.

Aston Gilpin, 18, lost her job at the Total Enigma escape rooms, based at Paton House on Bush Brow, last Wednesday.

Located in the centre of the road closure, the venue was forced to shut up shop as soon as the barriers were put in place.

“I have no money coming in,” she said.

“I’m at college, I need money. Everyone feels let down.”

She added that as the building had been without an owner since 2004, the city council should have planned ahead.

“A plan should have been put in place by now,” Aston said.

“There would have been no threat to businesses or employees. Even if we’d been told in advance we would have had time to plan. They keep talking about public safety, but what are they going to do for us?”

Mafalda Roque, 29, also lost her job last Wednesday, at Laser Quest, also at Paton House.

With a nine-year-old son to care for, Mafalda is now desperately looking for work.

“The owner at Laser Quest, she’s lovely. She said ‘as soon as we’re back trading, I’ll have you all back’. But when is that going to be?”

She added that the council should have expected this situation was to eventually happen with the Central Plaza, and acted accordingly before now.

“This situation has been going on for many years. They knew it would come to this.”

A city council spokesman said yesterday: “We continue to support businesses and have set-up a hotline which will enable those businesses affected to have direct access to the support team.

“The number is 01228 817 444 or email In addition we are exploring options as to how we can further assist businesses affected.”