A LEADING Carlisle estate agent has said he is ‘excited’ about the future of the city centre as several major projects get underway.

Carlisle city centre is set to undergo a transformation with both the University of Cumbria moving into the city centre and the railway station having a major facelift, alongside changes to English Street and Devonshire Street.

Despite there being well-publicised difficulties for bricks-and-mortar businesses across the country, Ben Blain, estate agent at Carigiet Cowen, said that the future of Carlisle city centre was bright and meant it was a ‘great place to buy’ in terms of retail properties.

News and Star: Ben BlainBen Blain (Image: Carigiet Cowen)“Everyone slags the city centre off and that its all doom and gloom as the high street is dead - but I disagree,” said Mr Blain.

“I think when you look at what's going on with the regeneration for the Citadels, and the railway station then its only a good thing for the city going forward.

“Because of the projects, we are starting to see a bit more activity on a sale basis.

“I think it’s so good for Carlisle because people will invest in the properties, which will make them look better, and I think Carlisle is a really nice place to just live and be now - there's far worse places in the north to be than Carlisle.”

Carlisle residents have previously called for more shops in the city centre following the announcement of the major projects which are set to 'transform' the city.

The rejuvenation schemes that are to begin in 2024 are the Devonshire Street, English Street, Market Square, and Greenmarket projects, alongside the ongoing progress of the Carlisle Station Gateway Project.

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Leader of Cumberland Council, Cllr Mark Fryer, said: “We are thrilled with the significant investment from central Government to enhance Carlisle.

"As visitors step out from the train station into the city centre, they will encounter a vastly improved area, reflecting the pride we all have in our city.

“Enhanced business areas are poised to positively impact dwelling and visitor numbers, and we hope the community shares our anticipation for brightening up the area."

The redevelopment of the Citadel buildings plans was approved in 2022 and will see the creation of a new University of Cumbria campus which includes the retention of the two Grade-I listed Citadel rotundas in the heart of the city.

The station gateway project comprises several key components, including the partial pedestrianisation of Court Square.

Enhancements to the Court Square access, improved facilities for customers, and a welcoming entrance from George Square are also planned.

Additionally, a public car park will be relocated to George Square to reduce traffic at Court Square, and efforts will be made to improve access at Water Street and Court Square Brow for pedestrians and cyclists.

The next phase of the Carlisle Station Gateway Project will be improvements to the Water Street / James Street junction.