NEW businesses have been praised in Carlisle for bringing a new boost to the city centre.

Carlisle is sometimes criticised for having empty units in the main shopping area, but this spring several new independent businesses have been welcomed into the centre.

A new sweet shop, Sweet Retreat, was opened on English Street by David Finnerty. 

Mr Finnerty decided that there was a gap in the market for this sort of trade following the closure of Wilko's. 

The city has also welcomed a new florist - The Bloem - on the high street. Katie Byers, the business owner, has taken inspiration from her time living in Holland to set up the shop. 

The popular Howard Arms pub is also set to make a return to its Lowther Street location. 

Mayor Abdul Harid has shown a keen interest in developing trade in the city centre. 

He recently attended the opening of a new Indian restaurant, Ali Tandoori, on Botchergate. 

Mr Harid said: "Of course it's great, it's a bloodline for Carlisle. Any new businesses coming into Carlisle give the city a lift. 

"It's employing local people, occupying empty units, and it's getting that extra flavour into Carlisle which is what we want. 

"Sadly, House of Fraser has just shut its doors, so all new businesses are welcome. 

"We can do with more independent retailers in the city centre and that's what we're lacking at the moment."

Councillor Rober Betton also praised the introduction of new businesses onto the city's high street but said he would like to see the council do more to improve the situation. 

He said: "It's great that this is happening, but we need to be encouraging any sort of business. 

"It's very encouraging to see these new businesses opening but the question is what is the council going to do to help them."

Mayor Harid added: "There's no shopping and clothes outlets that sell really good designer brands which I think is what we're lacking. 

"We attended the opening of Ali Tandoori which was a vacant property for a long time so it's good to see that a family has been encouraged to open up the business."