EVERYTHING you need to know about the major redevelopment of Carlisle’s historic Citadels into a University of Cumbria campus...

Carlisle City Council’s development panel met on Friday, unanimously voting to approve the redevelopment of the Grade I listed Citadel buildings into a state-of-the-art University of Cumbria campus with a shared public realm.

Here’s everything you need to know about the project, which is hailed as bringing economic prosperity and social benefits to the area.

  • Economic Benefits

It is believed that beyond offering a more modern higher education campus, the proposal will increase footfall to the city centre and make Carlisle a more vibrant place to live and work.

Speaking at the meeting on Friday chairman of the planning panel, David Morton said: “There aren’t any objectors which is probably quite unusual and I think it’s an indication of the acceptance of the people that live in Carlisle.

News and Star: A look at the teaching block from Victoria ViaductA look at the teaching block from Victoria Viaduct

“It’s going to revitalise the south end of the city centre. The very fact that such as Imperial College London are now looking at hopeful developing schools of education in Carlisle, it’s attracting people already so it’s got to be beneficial.

“For my part I’d be quite happy to recommend acceptance of the officers’ recommendation for approval.”

  • What do senior Cumbrians think?

Carlisle’s MP John Stevenson said: “I am delighted to see the plans for the Citadels coming forward this week.

“These plans are truly transformative for Carlisle bringing back into good use, the iconic listed Citadel buildings and making the area once more the heart of an exciting, vibrant and bustling city.”

READ MORE: Carlisle Citadel redevelopment moves forward as University of Cumbria takeover historic buildings

Speaking at the meeting this week, thirty year veteran councillor John Collier said: “I’m delighted to see the fact that they’re going to retain most of the internal structures.

“Once things are knocked down, they are never ever replaced.”

He seconded Councillor Morton’s proposal to approve the application and councillors were unanimous in their support

  • The Heritage Impact

The 16th century buildings have served as civil and crown courts and more recently Cumbria County Council offices.

Councillors were told this week that the project will have a minimal impact on the character of the area and in some cases will see the return of some of the structures’ historic aspects.

Explaining the proposal to the panel, case officer Alanzon Chan said: “The intention of the proposal is to celebrate the history of the court rooms while upgrading them for new functions

News and Star: Sections of the campus will be open access and shared with the publicSections of the campus will be open access and shared with the public

“The applicant has confirmed that the courtroom furniture will be relocated and reused in new buildings on campus.”

In some cases, archways from the original use of the structures which have either been blocked up or replaced by windows will now be reopened.

For this reason, planning officers believe the proposal will bring more benefits to the character of the Citadels than harm.

Mr Chan said that the statue of the Earl of Lonsdale on the site will be unaffected by the redevelopment.

  • How much will it cost?

The project is set to be part-funded by £50million from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal which is bringing a total of £452million investment to the Border Regions.

READ MORE: Construction firm lands new £77.5m University of Cumbria campus contract

Meanwhile, Sir Robert McAlpine has secured the tender worth £77.5 million to deliver the work.

  • What concerns have been raised?

Councillor Nigel Christian said: “These buildings are in an incredibly prominent place in the city.”

He said that the Citadels are currently not as clean and well maintained as they have been.

“I wondered whether there’s any way of encouraging a high-quality maintenance regime.”

Cllr Christian also raised concerns about an increase in traffic to the new university campus but was told that the applicant has produced a travel plan.

The city council’s economic development boss Jane Meek said: “I think we’ll talk to the university about, how are they going to encourage new students each year to travel sustainably.”

She added that the campus will be well presented: “The idea of the university moving into the Citadels is to provide that shop window for the university as people get off the train so I’m sure they’ll make sure the landscaping is maintained to a high standard to showcase the university.”