Why Cumbria needs Carlisle’s garden village

St Cuthbert’s Garden Village promises to put Cumbria at the vanguard of a revolution in the way people live and work.

There are plans for 10,000 homes plus schools, shops, parks, sports facilities and employment sites on the southern outskirts of Carlisle in an arc stretching from London Road in the east to Dalston Road in the west.

It could increase the population of urban Carlisle by a third.

We now have a much better idea of what will be involved, following publication of the St Cuthbert’s Garden Village Concept Proposals and Vision.

It aims to make the garden village an exemplar for sustainable living, featuring green corridors, low energy homes and cutting-edge digital infrastructure.

Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “Cumbria is facing a demographic time bomb as the number of people retiring far outstrips the number of young people joining the workforce.

“Our working-age population is projected to fall from 250,000 to 235,000 by 2028, which is 30,000 lower than it needs to be to meet employers’ needs.

“One answer is to boost productivity – to do more with fewer people – but we also have to attract people of working age to move into the county.

“St Cuthbert’s Garden Village, and equally Eden Council’s Penrith Masterplan, have a big role to play in providing the housing these people will need.”

He added: “The Garden Village proposal will also see construction of the Carlisle Southern Link Road, from M6 Junction 42 to the A595 at Newby West.

“We’ve been waiting for this road since the 1960s. It will complete a ring road around Carlisle and should bring significant economic benefits.

“It is an ambitious document, setting out how St Cuthbert’s Garden Village can be a national exemplar for sustainable living. It should reinforce the message that Cumbria is a really attractive place to live and work.”

The vision is for a series of distinct communities centred on Carleton, Durdar, Brisco and Cummersdale. Durdar would be the largest of these with shops, a health centre and a new secondary school with community sports facilities.

Green spaces are integral proposal, including allotments, and plans for a Caldew Country Park and St Cuthbert’s Greenway, a 10km linear park providing east-west walking and cycling routes between neighbourhoods.

The report also envisages substantial tree planting and flood-mitigation measures, and walking and cycling routes along the Petteril to the city centre.

It promises a range of building types and build methods, making use of locally-sourced materials, to create “rich and vibrant streets and neighbourhoods”.

Construction would feature new technologies and environmental practices to create low-energy homes.

These could be showcased at the St Cuthbert’s Expo, a visitor attraction and promotional tool to “place Carlisle at the forefront of construction innovation”.

Garden Village stakeholder event

Housing developments would be designed to encourage walking and cycling to access local shops, services and employment sites.

The latter would offer a mix of retail, manufacturing and office space, plus live-work and business incubator units.

The report says: “St Cuthbert’s could be one of the first Garden Villages to put health and well-being at the heart of development, driving a renaissance as people move north for a better quality of life.”

St Cuthbert’s will be the largest of 14 garden villages, a concept unveiled by the Government last year to provide 48,000 new homes across England. It is the only one in Cumbria, although another is planned at Bailrigg near Lancaster.

View the Concept Proposals and Vision for St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce