Adult gaming centre to make way for new University of Cumbria campus under new plans

A planning application has been submitted to move an adult gaming centre in Carlisle that could be forced to close as part of the citadel project.

The Citadels project new campus proposal will see the University of Cumbria relocated from its two Carlisle campuses into one city centre location. The majority of the Woolworth Buildings are being retained and refurbished with a small proportion being demolished as they are not suitable for re-use.

The adult gaming centre in Carlisle is part of where the new university will sit. The gaming centre, known as Kings Gaming, first opened at 94 English Street, Carlisle on December 17, 2021.

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Under plans, the owners plan to move to 84 English Street, Carlisle and close the existing one before opening the new one. The Borderlands funded redevelopment of Carlisle’s Grade-II Listed Citadel buildings into a new University of Cumbria campus means that Kings Gaming must move from its current base to a retail unit at the top of the high street.

It is reported that plans to develop Carlisle’s historic Citadel buildings into a state of the art university campus will create a new base for the University of Cumbria campus, with £50m in funding from the Borderland Inclusive Growth Deal. The applicant has agreed o buy the new premises.

The design and access statement explains: “There will be an investment to refurbish the interior of the premises and between eight to 10 staff will be employed at the new premises.

“There premises is currently empty. The existing Adult Gaming Centre at 94 English Street is also within the primary shopping area frontage of the city centre.

“It is also in the conservation area and part of the key townscape frontage.”

If permission is granted, the gaming centre will move into the buildings that were once home to The Works and Clydesdale Bank. The agent believes the proposal will contribute positively “to the vibrancy and vitality of the local economy by providing a leisure use within the city centre, which is attractive both to customers using retail shops and the other mix of uses in the centre.”

They argue that adult gaming stores “do not result in undue noise and disturbance from customers and provide a limited catering offer such as tea, coffee, soft drinks and biscuits.”

As well as the current licence, the applicant has managed and operated Adult Gaming Centres and Betting Offices in Liverpool, Manchester and the North West. Anyone who wishes to comment on the application much do so by August 17.

What are the Citadel redevelopments?

As part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, £50 million of funding has been allocated to bring a new future for the Citadels into fruition. The work to “bring new purpose to The Citadels” could mean the city’s historic buildings, a key part of the areas history and identity, gets a new future.

The project is being developed by Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council and the University of Cumbria working with Cumbria LEP as a key partner.

The proposal states: “This site can, potentially, be transformative to the character and status of Carlisle and the wider Borderlands area.”

An aerial view of how the new Carlisle Citadel campus will look
An aerial view of how the new Carlisle Citadel campus will look

The proposal is part of a bigger project that consists of three phases:

  • Phase 1 Carlisle Railway Station.
  • Phase 2 The Citadels buildings.
  • Phase 3 Caldew Riverside.

Under the proposals the iconic Citadels would be re-purposed and incorporated into a new 13,800 sqm campus for the University of Cumbria. The whole site, including the Citadels buildings, adjacent properties on English Street, and the land to the rear of the site, extends to some 1.65 hectares.

As well as a university campus there will be “leisure and cultural elements to increase vitality into the city centre.” The Citadels were originally built in the 16th century but the two bastions we now know were rebuilt in the 1800s.

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