Two cranes are being set up in preparation for the removal of seven tonnes of masonry from Carlisle’s former Central Plaza Hotel.
Work is expected to start later this afternoon.
A Carlisle City Council spokesperson said: “Both cranes are now on site and are in position. As this is a very complex process, we have been working with Network Rail to ensure that the building works will not impact on the arches below the Viaduct. Additional checks have been undertaken and works will start when this process has been completed.
“We are continuing to work in partnership with Cumbria County Council’s highways team and specialist contractors to ensure the safety of the former Central Plaza building.
“We have a duty to ensure the building is safe and all possible steps are being taken to find the quickest way to do this.”
As the former Central Plaza building has no owner (it is currently in escheat but rests with the Crown Estate), the City Council is duty bound to ensure that the property does not cause an immediate danger to persons in and around the building. This is covered under the Building Act 1984 s78 Dangerous Buildings – Emergency Measures.
Although the former Central Plaza building is not in the City Council’s ownership, we appreciate the importance of the site and have been working hard to support potential development.
Over the last six months, we have been in discussions with a developer who has undertaken feasibility studies to find a viable way forward for the building. They have looked at how the building could be used with plans for a mixed use comprising of hotel rooms, small-serviced office space, a bar and bistro and meeting room provision.
This work has been privately financed by Inveniam. Inveniam, along with a professional team of high-quality contractors, are seeking to acquire the building and are in advanced talks to develop a robust business case that would meet the needs of the Crown Estate. We are continuing to support this team in doing so.