THE KEYS to the historic Carlisle Citadel buildings have been handed over to the University of Cumbria today, marking another step forward for ambitions redevelopment plans.

Cumbria County Council's Cabinet voted yesterday to transfer ownership of Carlisle Citadels and the adjoining site to the University of Cumbria.

The move enables the redevelopment of the Grade I Listed buildings which will become the new home of University of Cumbria.

Plans for a new campus on the site will become a reality thanks to £50 million from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.

It is hoped the new development will support future growth and economic activity in the heart of the city.

The Citadels project involves the redevelopment of the existing structures and the construction of new buildings, with high quality, digital enabled teaching areas, facilities for administration and support services as well as creative and cultural spaces.

Cumbria County Council's leadership were presented a report on Thursday, recommending that the buildings are transferred to the university.

Angela Jones, Executive Director of Economy and Infrastructure said in her report: "The proposed campus would have a transformational impact on Carlisle City Centre, bringing the UoC’s Centre for Digital Transformation, a 200-seat multi-purpose lecture theatre, internal and external exhibition areas, a business interaction space, a café and a new public square accessible for all."

Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council said: "I’m delighted that we’re transferring our much-loved Citadels over to the University of Cumbria to help secure a future for the site. This is an exciting and ambitious project which will help to raise the profile of Carlisle as a University City so we can develop opportunities, skills, and infrastructure to drive regional growth and attract businesses and younger people to Cumbria.

Cllr Young said: "The regeneration of the Citadels, coupled with the developments at the Railway Station will see hundreds of new jobs created and breathe new life and vibrancy into the heart of Carlisle by increasing the number of people accessing our city centre on a daily basis."

The move has been made possible through cross council co-operation.

Leader of Carlisle City Council, Cllr John Mallinson said: “This is another important step forward for the Citadels project. The overall vision is to bring the iconic Citadel buildings back into use, respecting the heritage whilst creating a modern and vibrant new hub for learning, business and culture that re-shapes the future of Carlisle and the Borderlands region for the benefit of its communities and future generations.

Cllr Mallinson said: “It will boost Carlisle’s economy and will secure the future for the Citadel buildings.”

Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council and the University of Cumbria have worked in partnership to develop the project, working with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership as a key partner.

University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell said: “The investment the city and university are receiving is tremendous and will have demonstrable impact to place, people and our economy. Importantly, it will also bring the historic Citadels buildings back into use, and in doing so, the university will respect and reinforce the significance of these assets to our city and heritage. We look forward to opening these new old doors – to our students and to the communities we serve.”