It’s just about payday for me - and there’s a fair few people either side of the border who probably feel like this week was pay day for them too.
After months of speculation, both governments in both Holyrood and Westminster confirmed who much cash they’d be willing to plough into a Borderlands Growth Deal - a cool £345 million
So what’s that going to get the five Borderlands councils (inc. Cumbria and Carlisle City)? Here’s some of what’s on the wishlist so far:
- more high-speed and fibre broadband connections for homes and businesses
- joined up tourism initiatives for the whole border area
- jobs, employability and training schemes
The good news for Carlisle is that it sits smack bang in the middle of it all so it’s safe to assume that a fair chunk of that money is going to benefit the city.
One of the big ideas is for a new Carlisle Station Gateway,
wrapping up a redevelopment of the city’s main railway station, with the nearby former council offices known as the Citadel.
There’ve even been whispers over the years about moving the city’s bus and coach station next to the railway station, but right now, that’s home to Carlisle’s main swimming pools.
With plans to add some new swimming pools to the Sands Centre in the coming years though, it’s not out of the realms of possibility for some land to be freed up after that.
Another proposal which could pay dividends for Carlisle is the full restoration of the Waverley line from Edinburgh, through the Scottish Borders and all the way to the Great Border City.
The section of the line from Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank reopened four years ago as the Borders Railway, with passenger numbers exceeding expectations.
The fly in the ointment is that everything seems very vague so far. The money is just about confirmed, but the timetable doesn’t seem to be just yet.
It’s likely we’ll find out more later this year, when an initial Heads of Terms agreement is drawn up by the Borderlands councils in the summer.