THE start of a major project to rejuvenate a prominent area of the city centre is scheduled to start next week, the council said.

Cumberland Council’s Carlisle Southern Gateway project on English Street aims to regenerate the southern entrance to the city, which the council said would create ‘a more attractive and vibrant area for residents, businesses, and visitors’, with a  target completion date of spring next year.

Starting on June 17, it will see Story Contracting Ltd remove four out of the five bus shelters on English Street, with the Denton Holme bus stop remaining for the first few weeks.

The new permanent Denton Holme bus stop on Victoria Viaduct is expected to be up and ready by mid-August this year, the council said, adding that other bus routes will maintain their current detours, turning at Botchergate and using Lowther Street bus stops until the work is completed next year.

English Street will be fully closed for 10 weeks, starting in mid-February next year, so contractors can lay granite setts, with exact timings to be confirmed by the council as work progresses, with adjustments as needed, the council added.

An artist's impression of how English Street may look after the project is completedAn artist's impression of how English Street may look after the project is completed (Image: Cumberland Council)

Part of the West Walls car park will be designated as a compound for the works and access to the steps in the centre of the car park will be restricted.

A stakeholder event for local businesses and residents who own property near the work site will be held jointly by the council and contractors in the Merlot Room at Carlisle Station Hotel on June 13, during which attendees can drop in anytime between 3pm and 7pm.

Commenting on the project, Carlisle mayor Chris Southward said the disruption will be worth it.

He cited the disturbance among city residents and visitors of the Devonshire Street works, as well as the Dalston Road closure for the Southern Link Road developments, but added: “If you want to make an omelette, you’ve got to break a few eggs.”

Overall, the city would benefit from all rejuvenation, such as the upcoming Citadel campus which is due to welcome new, younger people into the city, and create a vibrant atmosphere, Mr Southward said.

On the subject of rejuvenation, Mr Southward said on what to do with the Debenhams building, which lies dormant despite vast potential, that he has no preference on what occupies the space, but added: “A new Labour government will probably encourage a more commercially-minded atmosphere among businesses,” and that the current council, while not responsible for setting rental rates for the property, ‘will find somebody’ to occupy it.

This project is part of the larger city-wide regeneration plan, which links the Devonshire Street redevelopment (expected to finish this summer).

It also involves the Station Gateway project (expected to continue until 2027), which includes partially pedestrianising Court Square, enhancing accessibility from Geroge Square, and has since involved demolishing The Pools and Staples buildings.

Additionally, the Market Square and Greenmarket regeneration project, encompassing 6,000 square metres, will start in summer 2024, which the council said would create a ‘multifunctional events space to host various community events’, and will involve the relocation of the war memorial in time for Remembrance Day, the overall project having a target completion date of spring next year.