The Lanes, Carlisle

November 1, 2011 Filed under: 1980s, Retail by Sanna Fisher-Payne 2 comments

Placed 48th in the Placebook vote of favourite buildings by BDP
Opened in 1984, The Lanes received a RIBA Award, as well as recognition from the British Council of Shopping Centres and the Civic Trust. David Ives, who worked with BDP on a number of projects, says it has stood the test of time

This award winning town centre development was the culmination of years of effort by the City Council to rejuvenate a core area of the city.  Previous proposals put forward by developers were rejected by the citizens of the city and the Council.  BDP were appointed with consultant surveyors to bring forward proposals more in keeping with the existing townscape and yet incorporate the demand for additional modern retailing with car parking.

After months of public discussion an outline scheme was submitted, which unusual at the time, incorporated housing and later a new library.  The proposals reflected, but did not copy, the existing architecture and townscape.  The internal “lanes” followed the existing layout of the area.  The proposals were adopted by the Council.

The subsequent development was undertaken by the Council and funded by a major Insurance Company.  As such it took the “developers risk” and has reaped substantial financial benefit and importantly retained full control of the architecture.

The development was well received by the citizens of Carlisle, met the requirements of retailers and this led to a second phase which included a major department store, thus adding to the overall strength of the city.  The housing and library have proved equally popular and after 20 years it still looks “as good as new” reflecting the quality of the architecture, materials and finishes.   It now forms the main core of the fully pedestrianised city centre and is a worthy prize winner.