Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence

Memorandum by Carlisle City Council (RG 54)

  In January 2005, Carlisle suffered its worst floods in over a century. Over 2,000 homes and business were affected with the cost of damage estimated at more than £250 million. Carlisle City Council believes that, in the aftermath of the floods, there is an opportunity to establish, a bold new vision for the regeneration of the City, a vision that addresses the significant economic, physical and social challenges that face Carlisle now and in the future.

  Under than banner of Carlisle Renaissance, we have been working with our partners at a local, regional and national level to get a better understanding of what needs to be done to secure the future growth and prosperity of the City, and the role that we and others would have in this. We have also been exploring how such growth can support improvements in the economy of Cumbria and the North West region as a whole.

Since the floods, we have been working on a new Vision for Carlisle Renaissance that sets out what the City could evolve into over the next decade. It is ambitious and aspirational and achieving it will require investment by both the public and the private sectors.

  Carlisle City Council is pleased to have the opportunity to respond to the latest enquiry on regions and city regions.

  Carlisle supports devolution of powers to sub regional and local level and is already seeking opportunities to collaborate within Cumbria to achieve efficiency savings and more effective services for local people, eg Achieving Cumbrian Excellence (ACE) Cumbria Housing Strategy, Cumbria Procurement Initiative in partnership with the North West Centre of Excellence, Connected Cumbria.

  Carlisle welcomes closer collaboration within the region and inter-regional co-operation to tackle complex economic, social and environmental issues that do not respect administrative boundaries.

  Carlisle Renaissance, a major urban regeneration programme for the city, has revealed its potential as a model for a city region within Cumbria. Carlisle is already the principle commercial, administrative, retail and cultural centre for much of Cumbria and south west Scotland and Carlisle Renaissance is about securing economic growth for the city. Carlisle is not part of a conurbation like other city regions; its geographical location, extensive rural hinterland and local topography mean it could be considered as a "stand alone" economy. However, its sphere of influence extends across north Cumbria to north east England and to south west Scotland and as such, is more significant geographically than other city regions[86]. Carlisle Renaissance has the potential to deliver economic growth across the whole of its catchment area and to tackle other strategic issues that contribute to sustainable communities, eg road and rail transport. Working across current administrative boundaries in this way, Carlisle Renaissance would be well placed to contribute to the economic prosperity of its catchment area.

86   450,000 live within one hour's drive of the city, Carlisle Renaissance Prospectus, 2005. Back

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