citadels dec 2021
Photo: Stuart Walker Photography

Public invited to have their say on ambitious new plans for a new university campus at Carlisle's historic Citadels and surrounding area

Local residents, businesses, students and visitors are again being given the opportunity to have their say on ambitious new proposals for a new campus for the University of Cumbria at the historic Citadels in Carlisle. Online public consultation takes place between Friday 20 November and Friday 11 December 2020.

Whilst the restrictions around non-essential travel and social distancing mean that there can be no traditional face to face consultation sessions, people can instead see the suggested plans and have their say online at

Feedback gathered from the first public consultation earlier this year showed overwhelming support for the proposals to transform the historic Citadels and surrounding areas into a new campus for the University of Cumbria.

The first round of public consultation took place online between 14 May and 4 June 2020. 77% of respondents agreed that the objectives for the project were ‘about right’ and across the open questions in the survey, there was overall more support for the University to use the Citadels than objection towards this. The full feedback summary report can be found online at:  

This second public consultation incorporates into the proposals the feedback received to date and seeks public opinion on the design principles and vision for the site.

Carlisle Station Gateway and Citadels are a major gateway into the city and are a key part of the history and identity of Carlisle. As part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, £50 million of funding has been allocated for the second phase to bring new purpose to the historic Citadels and adjacent site. Phase one relates to the proposed investment to improve Carlisle Railway Station.  Further consultation on the proposed Station improvements will be undertaken early in the new year.

The project is being developed jointly by Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council and the University of Cumbria working with Cumbria LEP as a key partner. Improving the site can, potentially, be transformative to the character and status of Carlisle and also the wider Borderlands area.

Councillor Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council said: “Through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, there is an in-principle commitment to support the development of a new campus for the University of Cumbria at the historic Citadels. The proposals are still in the early stages of development and we want to gather people’s views and ideas to help us continue to shape plans as they progress. Whilst I appreciate the timing around doing any public consultation isn’t ideal given the current Covid-19 pandemic, we need to ensure we progress the development of a business case in order to secure the funding for this transformational project. This will help make sure that when the world gets back on its feet, we are well placed to attract businesses and students into Carlisle.

“I’d encourage everyone to take a look at the consultation material online and give us their feedback. This will help us shape our plans, to make sure we design a scheme that fits the needs of potential future users, as well as the objectives for the Citadels, Carlisle and the wider Borderlands area.”

Councillor John Mallinson, Leader of Carlisle City Council, added: “In these unprecedented times, its vitality important that we do all we can to encourage investment in Carlisle.

“The overall vision of this ambitious project is to bring the iconic Citadel buildings back into use, respecting the heritage whilst creating a modern and vibrant new hub for learning, business and culture that re-shapes the future of Carlisle and the Borderlands region for the benefit of its communities and future generations.

“Have your say and take part in this next stage of consultation.”

University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor, Professor Julie Mennell said: “The University of Cumbria was established to serve the needs of Cumbria and the wider region. To increase educational attainment, aspiration and participation, to deliver higher-level skills and importantly to support our businesses, economy and communities to thrive. This role has never been so important, and we remain firmly committed to fulfilling it.

 “The Citadels project, in partnership with Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council will be truly transformational – allowing us to extend our reach and impact for the benefit of our cross-border region, our city and communities”.

Jim Jackson, Deputy Chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and Chair of its Investment Panel, said: “We’re extremely pleased to be able to contribute £1.78 million of Local Growth Fund to this exciting and transformative project, which has the potential to further enhance Carlisle’s reputation as a place to live, work, visit and in which to study.

“It’s extremely important that people have the opportunity to help shape the plans as they move forward, and I would urge everyone concerned to take advantage of this latest opportunity to comment.

“This is one of a number of schemes that the LEP has supported, or is supporting, through the Local Growth Fund programme to underpin the aims of our strategic economic priorities, delivering jobs, growth and improving connectivity within Cumbria.”

John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle added: “This project is hugely significant to our City. I very much hope people will get behind the project as it progresses.

"Transforming the Citadels is an ambitious and important project for our city. Carlisle, as the main economic hub in Cumbria, already offers a wide selection of educational opportunities at all levels. However, this project will create a better offer to those wishing to study in Carlisle at the University of Cumbria and expand the attractiveness of the university offer in our city. With the potential to improve and regenerate an important part of our city, this project is exciting, and I would encourage those with an interest in our city to engage with this consultation.’’

Carlisle, as the only city in the Borderlands region, has ambitious plans for growth. The future economic success of the city and wider region is dependent on population growth and reversing the decline in the working age population.

Revitalisation of the city centre to be a vibrant and accessible place where people will choose to live, and work therefore is key to this future success.

The redevelopment of the Citadels site presents one of the most important investment opportunities in Borderlands. The site has considerable untapped potential with iconic Citadels structures and proximity to Carlisle Station giving excellent profile as the key gateway to the city centre.

Building on these attributes, with the support of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal there is now an opportunity to deliver a new university campus on this site. Proposals for which are undergoing development and are subject to this consultation.

Find out more at

Photo: Stuart Walker Photography