Agenda item

Transfer of the Carlisle Citadels and adjoining site to the University of Cumbria

To consider a report from the Executive Director – Economy & Infrastructure (copy enclosed)


Appendix 2 – Subsidy Control Assessment is not for publication by virtue of paragraph 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 as this report contains information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.



Cabinet considered a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure which updated them on progress towards the redevelopment of the Citadels Site facilitating delivery of a transformational project for Carlisle and the wider Borderlands region. 


The Citadels Site would become the new home for the University of Cumbria (UoC) creating a new university campus that woulsupport the future growth of the city and the university, stimulating economic activity in the city centre and increasing skills and business productivity in the region.


This report sought Cabinet approval to transfer the Citadels Site to UoC, as an in-kind contribution to the project. The Citadels Site comprised the former Crown Court buildings, the adjoining hospital wing, the Kraemer building, the Nisi Prius building and the Citadels Car Park currently owned by the County Council.  The proposal was to transfer the freehold to UoC for nil consideration in order to enable development of this transformational project and creation of the new city centre university campus.


Redevelopment of Carlisle Station Gateway and Citadels was a strategic project within the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal. The Citadels project aimed to redevelop a 1.65-hectare site of historic importance to create a new city centre campus for the UoC.  The site was in the combined ownership of Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council.  As landowners, the County and City Councils were key partners in enabling the development of the project.


The County Council had worked closely with UoC and the City Council from the project inception to the point at which Borderland’s funding was secured following submission of the full business case.  Delivery of the project was being led by UoC, who would be the recipient of Borderlands funding (£50m) as well as contributing £23.5m of the University’s funding.  A further £4m was to be provided via the Carlisle Town Deal.


The Citadels project proposed the re-development of the Grade 1 listed Citadels structures as well as the construction of new buildings to deliver a mixture of high quality and fully digital enabled teaching spaces, together with space for university administration and support services as well as creative and cultural facilities. The proposed campus would have a transformational impact on Carlisle City Centre, bringing the UoC’s Centre for Digital Transformation, a 200-seat multi-purpose lecture theatre, internal and external exhibition areas, a business interaction space, a café and a new public square accessible for all.


The recommended option for the freehold disposal of the entire Citadels Site to the UoC at nil consideration aligned with the key benefits to be realised from transferring the asset to UoC, which were:-


   Significant benefits for the local economy, community and environment from the development of a new city centre university campus.

   A strong and growing UoC at the heart of the city, creating a profile and opportunities that promote regional economic growth.

   New investment in and purpose for local historic assets, showcasing a rich cultural heritage for residents and visitors to create an enhanced experience and sense of place.

   Addresses the Council’s immediate and potential future maintenance and holding liabilities in relation to the properties.

   Addresses the Council’s risk of reputational damage due to deterioration of the heritage assets.

   Promoting better access to skills development for local people and businesses.




(1)     Cabinet agrees the transfer of the freehold of the Citadels Site to the University of Cumbria for nil consideration (transfer at undervalue) to enable their development of a new university campus.


(2) Cabinet delegates authority to the Executive Director for Economy and Infrastructure, in consultation with the Leader, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Property, to finalise the detailed terms of, and complete, the transfer.



Supporting documents: