THE University of Cumbria is looking forward to strengthening links with local businesses with a £4million hub.

Funding to develop the Carlisle Business Exchange (CBE), part of the University of Cumbria’s new Citadel campus development, has been approved.

£19.7million from central government has been given to the Carlisle town deal investment plan, of which £4million has been allocated for the CBE.

The university says the CBE will deliver 800 square metres of ‘hyper-fast digitally enabled business interaction and accommodation space’.

It is said it will encourage innovation and collaboration with the university – both staff and students – for external businesses located in or moving to the CBE, including start-ups through to scale-ups.

It will also provide a ‘knowledge exchange hub’, a central location where university research staff can be co-located with knowledge exchange staff with part of the business community.

It is hoped this space will contribute to Carlisle’s footfall and vitality, and provide a place for the incubation of businesses including those started by staff or students at the university.

The CBE is one of six projects set to receive funding from the town deal.

The vice chancellor of the university, Julie Mennel, said: “The development of a city-centre university campus has the potential to transform the character and status of Carlisle and the wider Borderlands area.

“However, it is the strategic and collaborative approach taken by all involved which will ensure we deliver tremendous and long-lasting impact for our city, businesses, and communities.”

The planning application for the new Citadel campus was submitted to Carlisle City Council in April this year.

Designed by DAY Architectural Ltd, the new campus plans include the retention of the two Grade-I listed Citadel rotundas on the proposed site along with other historic and heritage features, including the Woolworths and Burton buildings.

The design seeks to open the site and facilities in a managed way to the community.

The Carlisle Citadels campus has been developed by the University of Cumbria, Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council, and Cumbria LEP as a key partner.

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