A LEADING business figure in Cumbria has welcomed plans for a multi-million pound business park which could create more than 2,800 jobs.

Strawsons Property, a property development and investment group, is bringing forward plans for a commercial and logistics park on land off Junction 44 of the M6 on the outskirts of Carlisle, creating 2,600 jobs at the site and a further 260 in the supply chain.

The 110-acre site, which would be named Harker View, would be transformed into a new sustainable logistics hub for the North West, providing low carbon transport infrastructure while utilising the strategic M6 corridor, and could signal a £146 million-a-year economic boost to the area.

It would include an electric vehicle charging forecourt and a traditional petrol forecourt, facilities such as a 75-bed hotel, a public house, restaurant, and drive-thru eateries.

The site would also benefit from a range of publicly accessible green space, green infrastructure and a potential park-and-ride site.

Strawsons Property say they intend to submit a planning application to Carlisle City Council in January.

“It says a lot for the potential of Carlisle that, despite all the current disruption and uncertainty, Strawsons sees the city as an attractive proposition,” explained Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

“We already have a strong logistics sector here. Carlisle is an ideal location for businesses looking for a hub to service the north of England and Scotland.

“That was underlined again this year when Amazon opened a depot in Longtown.”

He added: “Covid has accelerated the trend towards online shopping and that in turn increases the demand for warehousing and distribution operations of the sort envisaged by Strawsons.

“It’s encouraging too that the scheme includes green infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging points. It’s very much a development of its time.”

Carlisle MP John Stevenson said the fact that the developer was interested in Carlisle and Cumbria was "great news” and demonstrated that "Carlisle is becoming a far more attractive place for business due to its geography and the significance of Carlisle and its businesses to the Borderlands region.”

Mr Stevenson said it was significant news off the back of investment from Amazon and the upcoming cash for the Town’s Fund, Citadel and Carlisle railway station.

“It is a vote of confidence in Carlisle and the wider region,” he said.

A spokesman for Strawsons Property, said: “Our proposal presents a unique opportunity for Carlisle to be at the forefront of electric vehicle charging technology and upon completion is expected to generate approximately £146 million annual investment.

“We are delighted to announce our plans for Harker View to the local community and we want to hear from local people before we submit our planning application in January 2021.”

Strawsons Property is inviting residents to view its virtual public exhibition at harkerview.consultationonline.co.uk. The virtual exhibition will run until December 14, with people able to view the plans and provide feedback online.