PLANS to change the shopfront of a Grade II listed Carlisle building have been submitted to Cumberland Council.

The application is for a site in English Street, formerly the Joules store, and the project would involve both internal and external alterations including:

  • Replace existing timber shopfront with new timber shopfront and recessed timber entrance doors;
  • Replace existing timber hanging sign to stone pilaster with new timber hanging sign (externally illuminated);
  • Replacement panelled timber fascia board with moulded frame and cornice capping;
  • Individually located aluminium lettering with Admiral and Casino halo illuminated;
  • Internal lobby area created with automated secondary doors;
  • Replace non original stud partitioning to create accessible WC, staff and managers' offices.

The application is from Luxury Leisure (part of the Novomatic Group), a 'market leading provider of gaming and entertainment venues', with more than 250 high street and seaside gaming venues in the UK.

According to a planning statement the group employs more than 2,000 staff in the UK and accounts for 22.5 per cent of the UK adult gaming centre market such that it is "a highly experienced responsible operator in this market".

News and Star: The former Joules unit in CarlisleThe former Joules unit in Carlisle (Image: Ian Duncan/LDR Service)

The report adds: "The subject property is a Class E premises with 183sqm of floorspace at ground floor level together with ancillary storage space at first and second floor level.

"The property is prominently located in the pedestrianised area of the city centre close to national multiple retailers. The site has been vacant since March 18, 2023."

The report  outlines the building's heritage and it states that the shops, with commercial premises above, date back to the the early or mid-19th century. It adds: "The existing shopfront is non-original and the site has been extensively modernised internally."

The report states: "The subject property is Grade II listed and is located in the City Centre Conservation Area. The property is also located in the Primary Shopping Area as well as in the defined primary shopping frontage as well as being in a designated Key Townscape Frontage."

According to the council's planning policy, leisure uses are considered acceptable in order to retain the city centre’s status.

The report states: "A diverse mix of uses, including city centre living, which support vitality through generating daytime and evening activity is supported as is beneficial re-use of vacant and redundant buildings and upper floors particularly where to do so would increase city centre living or generate job growth."

Alterations or extensions, changes of use, or new development within the curtilage and/or a listed building's setting must have regard to:

  • The significance of the heritage asset, including its intrinsic architectural and historic interest and its contribution to the local distinctiveness and character of the district;
  • The setting of the asset and its contribution to the local scene;
  • The extent to which the proposed works would result in public benefits;
  • The present or future economic viability or function of the heritage asset;
  • And the preservation of the physical features of the building, in particular scale, proportions, character and detailing (both internally and externally) and of any windows and doorways.

The report states: "Development within the locality of a listed building should preserve or enhance its character and setting, and be sympathetic in scale, character and materials.

"There is also adopted supplementary shopfront design guidance which favours the traditional use of colours materials and design.

"The proposed shopfront retains a traditional timber shopfront painted in grey with a yellow timber door surround. Lettering is individually located and illumination is via discrete limited halo illumination and external illumination to the traditional hanging sign.

"There are a range of traditional and modern shopfront designs in the city centre with a diverse colour palette in use. The proposed shopfront and signage is muted and complements the existing commercial surrounds.

News and Star:

"Internally the site is modernised and there is no impact on historic building fabric. The proposed use will provide an active ground floor frontage and serve the local and visitor customer base."

According to the statement there are no specific policies in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which prohibit the proposed use and it adds: "Indeed, the general direction of the NPPF is to support diversity and a range of uses.

"In relation to ensuring the vitality of town centres, competitive town centres that provide customer choice and a diverse retail offer are preferred.

"There is no harm to the character and appearance of the listed building and the long-term viable reuse of the property is to the public benefit. For all the above reasons we commend this application for your approval."