Carlisle City Council has vowed to do all it can to help the city centre after a string of retailers closed in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

Councillor Paul Nedved, portfolio holder for Economy, Enterprise and Housing, said it was “sad to see” these businesses go but the council was doing everything within its power to ensure the city thrived as it emerged from the crisis.

A number of retailers have recently decided to shut shop because the impact of the coronavirus including The Little Gin Shop, on Lowther Street, the Pompeii Steakhouse, on Abbey Street, Monsoon Accessorise, on Scotch Street, and Buzz Bingo, on English Gate Plaza, and others.

Mr Nedved said: “The city is not in the business of saving shops but we are here to do whatever we can to support businesses through things like discretionary grants.

“It can be the smallest things like installing temporary toilets in the city and the installation of hand sanitisers when shops started to open up again two or three weeks ago.

“The coronavirus has accelerated changes to the high street.

“It is a difficult one and we’ll do what we can, it is very sad but we’ll try to do what we can to create an environment for local businesses to thrive, sadly we may lose some.”

He pointed to a raft of initiatives like the Towns Fund where Carlisle was confirmed as one of the 100 towns across the country shortlisted to secure up to £25 million from the Government through a Town Deal for Carlisle which will outline projects to support regeneration.

Mr Nedved also said the purchase of the former Hoopers department store by the Carlisle based Edinburgh Woollen Mill, the proposed Central Plaza development and plans for the University of Cumbria to create a new campus in the town’s historic Citadels had “immense” potential for the city.

Councillor Gareth Ellis, deputy leader and finance, governance and resources portfolio holder said: “It is going to be very difficult, we have never gone through anything like this before.

“Social distancing can only ever be short term thing, it is absolutely essential that we get the economy moving.

“It is absolutely essential that the council goes for growth.”