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Funding approved for new University of Cumbria business interaction hub

University of Cumbria is looking forward to strengthening its links with local businesses with the news that funding has been approved to develop the Carlisle Business Exchange (CBE).

Part of the new Citadels campus development, Carlisle Town Deal investment plan has received £19.7 million in funding from central government, £4 million of which has been allocated for the CBE to be housed on the new city centre campus.

The CBE will deliver 800Msq of hyper fast digitally enabled business interaction and accommodation space, as part of the development of the 1.65 hectare Citadels site. It will encourage and maximise innovation and collaboration with the university (both staff and students) for external businesses located in or moving to the CBE. These will include start-up businesses, through to scale-up businesses and flexible "touch down" space for larger business.

It will also provide a knowledge exchange hub, a central (and known) location where university Research and Knowledge Exchange staff can be co-located with at least part of the business community with whom they are wishing to engage. The high quality flexible and co-working space will contribute to city centre vitality and footfall as well as provide a location for the incubation of businesses including those started by staff and students at the university. 

The CBE is one of six projects set to receive Town Deal funding, alongside Start with the Park, St Cuthbert's Garden Village; Southern Gateway; Project Tullie; Lighting Up Carlisle; and a Digital and Community Learning Hub.

University of Cumbria’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Julie Mennell has welcomed the news and said: “I am delighted to hear that the Carlisle Town Deal funding has been approved.

“This is a really exciting time for our city and region, with each of the town deal projects delivering significant benefit in their own right.

“The development of a city centre university campus has the potential to transform the character and status of Carlisle and the wider Borderlands area. However, it is the strategic and collaborative approach taken by all involved which will ensure we deliver tremendous and long-lasting impact for our city, businesses and communities.”

The planning application for the University of Cumbria’s flagship Carlisle Citadels campus project was submitted to Carlisle City Council in April this year.

Designed by DAY Architectural Ltd., the new campus plans include the retention of the two Grade I listed Citadel rotundas on the proposed site along with other historic and heritage features, including the Woolworths and Burton buildings. Accessible, inclusive, and inspirational, the design also seeks to open the site and facilities, in a managed way, to the local community.

The Carlisle Citadels campus project has been developed by the University of Cumbria, Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council, and Cumbria LEP as a key partner.

WATCH: A fly through of what the new campus will look like.

£50 million of funding for the project is being provided by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal with the additional £4million from the Carlisle Town Deal Fund and the university expected to help meet the £77.5 million total cost.

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Notes to editors

Town Deal

Carlisle’s Town Deal Board is made up of representatives from key public and private sector organisations in the city, was formed in January 2020 to steer Carlisle’s vision and objectives for the Town Deal.

Towns Fund - Town Deals

On 27 July 2019, the Prime Minister announced that the Towns Fund would support an initial 101 places across England to develop Town Deal proposals, to drive economic regeneration and deliver long-term economic and productivity growth. See further details of the announcement.

A Town Deal is an agreement in principle between government, the Lead Council and the Town Deal Board. It will set out a vision and strategy for the town, and what each party agrees to do to achieve this vision.

See the 101 places being supported to develop Town Deals.

Each of the 101 towns selected to work towards a Town Deal also received accelerated funding last year for investment in capital projects that would have an immediate impact and help places “build back better” in the wake of Covid-19.

Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal

The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal was signed in March 2021. The £350 million investment in the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, from the UK and Scottish Governments, is made up of £150 million for Scotland (£85 million from the Scottish Government and £65 million from the UK Government) and up to £200 million for England from the UK Government. This will be supported by over £100million of funding from local partners.

The Borderlands Partnership is made up of Carlisle City CouncilCumbria County CouncilDumfries and Galloway CouncilNorthumberland County CouncilScottish Borders Council.