TWO local leaders have welcomed a multimillion pound funding boost for their areas.

Carlisle and Maryport are to be awarded £9,129,874 and £11,527,839 respectively as part of the Government’s Future High Streets Fund.

The funding is aimed at supporting areas to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and to help give town centres a new lease of life. It is part of £168.8 million for high streets in the North West.Carlisle asked for a £16.6 million cut of the £1bn pot.

The bid focussed on projects including: the repurposing of a number of properties on Castle Street; site preparation work on the former Central Plaza Hotel site ahead of redevelopment; remediation work on the Carlisle Riverside development site; and the redevelopment of the former Hoopers department store which was bought by Edinburgh Woollen Mill earlier this year.

“We will use this funding opportunity to help transform the high street, encouraging greater evening activity and renewing Carlisle city centre as a place to live and work," commented Paul Nedved, economy, enterprise and housing portfolio holder for Carlisle City Council.

"We look forward to working with the Government to finalise the proposals in the New Year.”

John Mallinson, council leader said:“This will help Carlisle bounce back from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. This funding adds to the significant investment already committed through the Accelerated Fund, the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal and St Cuthbert’s Garden Village. 2021 is promising to be a landmark year for investment in Carlisle.”

Meanwhile, Maryport applied for £16m to fund a multimillion-pound revamp which would include the regeneration of the Christ Church, Carlton Cinema and Empire Yard, as well as an overhaul of The Wave Centre.

The council asked for government funding of £4.2m for the redevelopment of The Wave Centre, £3.6m for landscaping and pedestrian improvements in the town centre, £2.3m for the Carlton Cinema, £2.1m for Empire Yard and £1.2m for Christ Church.

It also asked for £2.9m towards the conversion of retail units into apartments.

Workington MP Mark Jenkinson said: "I am delighted Maryport has been allocated £11.5 million to improve the high street and deliver some of the projects I was involved in as portfolio holder for economic development at Allerdale Council.

"I was pleased to locate my constituency office in Maryport which provided a good location for constituents. I am delighted the town has received this money which will enable a number of investments into various projects to improve the high street.

"I am very much looking forward to seeing these projects commence which will provide a real boost to the town of Maryport - a big stepping stone as we continue our levelling up agenda."