THE LEADER of the city council has shown interest in supporting a cultural hub in the park after its owners have ceased trading.

Bitts Park, Carlisle is home to a cultural and business hub, including street-food outlets, previously headed-up by Tribe, a community interest company.

But earlier this month, Tribe CIC entered voluntary liquidation and ceased trading.

And questions were asked about what it means for vendors currently based there at a meeting of Carlisle City Council last Tuesday.

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Councillor Helen Davison said: “The existing businesses will be struggling without a bar so is the council doing anything to ensure Tribe comes back and continues to play the role it has been as a place people can go to.”

Executive member for culture, heritage and leisure, Councillor Stephen Higgs said: “I think it’s a great sadness that Tribe hasn’t been able to go on in the way it started, it’s maybe understandable given the economic background and many difficulties that it’s encountered during its life but the council is now taking every step it can legally to make sure that the position is resolved as quickly as it can be and of course, protect the council’s own position in that.”

Cllr Ruth Alcroft spoke of Tribe’s success since opening a little more than a year ago and asked if the development could remain in some form: “Despite questions a number of councillors had at the time, the site has proved popular with residents and tourists and the announcement Tribe CIC has gone into voluntary liquidation is actually a real blow.

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“Given that the director of Tribe Carlisle CIC has stepped-down what actions are being taken to support the vendors moving forward? Is there any possibility of the site being run under the city council, this happened briefly with the Old Fire Station.”

Leader of the city council John Mallinson said: “It’s only just recently we were informed that the principles of Tribe had gone into voluntary liquidation and as yet we haven’t formulated a way forward.

“I don’t think any vetting procedure we could have come up with under any reasonable likely scenarios would have been adequate to find any shortcomings in the process, given what has hit them over the time.”

Cllr Mallinson said it was launched during a difficult period: “Covid’s had its impact. They went into winter without any summer trading to cover their backs. It’s all very unfortunate and I think liquidation was probably inevitable but I would think we will investigate ways of keeping it running.

“As far as the council running it, I would not exclude that, but I would draw the council’s attention to the difference between the Old Fire Station when the council was running it and what it is under new management.”

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