Carlisle Southern Link Road

As part of developing an improved road network in and around Carlisle, Cumbria County Council are in the process of developing a Southern Link Road scheme for Carlisle. A preferred route for the CSLR was announced in June 2018 (The Green Route (PDF 2.53MB)).

The need to improve east to west connectivity has been identified in the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)  Cumbria Infrastructure Plan and in Carlisle City Council's recently adopted Carlisle District Local Plan 2015-2030. The link road would be required to unlock delivery of the planned St Cuthbert's Garden Village.

Outline Business Case submission

Plans for the new Carlisle Southern Link Road (CSLR) were submitted to Government on 10 September 2018 for a decision around investment for the road. The council's bid will be competing against important projects from other parts of the country, funding is not yet guaranteed. 

The total cost of the scheme is £ 112 million with £ 102 million being requested from the Housing Infrastructure Fund administered by Homes England. The remaining £ 10 million will be shared by Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council who will recoup the investment from future developer contributions. Whilst government funding is required to build the road, additional funding will also be required from developers to contribute towards the costs of delivering the scheme. 

The funding decision is expected in January or February 2019. If funding is secured, construction could commence in Spring 2021 for a two year period. 

Scheme development

In order to meet the challenging timescales set by the government, the next stage of scheme development has commenced and will continue in advance of any funding decision. This includes development of the route design, data collection, stakeholder engagement, environmental assessment and subject to confirmation of funding, further public consultation on the preferred route in Autumn 2019. Work across the site is due to take place in the next three months including ground investigations, ecological, topographical and river surveys. More information on the ground investigation survey can be found in the Ground Investigation Survey Information Note (PDF 543KB).

Preferred Route

Following extensive consultation on two route options for the Carlisle Southern Link Road earlier this year, Cumbria County Council chose the Green Route as the preferred route.

The preferred route decision was based on a thorough assessment of evidence using a decision-making framework. The decision-making framework was applied to the two route options and considered strategic objectives of the scheme, stakeholder feedback including the results of the public consultation and environmental, engineering, economic and deliverability assessments. The Preferred Route Decision Report (PDF 1MB) documents this process, using the evidence prepared as part of the scheme development to recommend a preferred route for the Carlisle Southern Link Road. The decision was approved by the Council on 21 June 2018.

This work identified a range of reasons why the green route is preferred:

  • The route better enables the delivery of the vision for St Cuthbert's Garden Village
  • It had significantly higher level of public support in the recent public consultation
  • It is considered easier to build with less impact on existing communities
  • The route has a comparatively lower environmental impact.

Project Location

If a Carlisle Southern Link Road is developed in the future, the new road would connect Junction 42 of the M6 with the A595 to the west. The route would include new junctions linking existing radial routes into Carlisle and the Garden Village.

The route would include bridges over two main railway lines and the Caldew and Petteril rivers, a network of footways and cycleways and an extensive programme of landscaping and environmental mitigation.

This 8km long road would provide vital infrastructure to relieve congestion in the historic city of Carlisle and provide the access and network capacity to enable the successful and accelerated delivery of St Cuthbert's Garden Village.

New Component

Project Development

Cumbria County Council, working with Carlisle City Council, have commissioned Carlisle based transport consultants Capita to develop options for a Carlisle Southern Link Road. The Stage 2 scheme development work which identified a preferred route and prepared an outline business case was completed in August 2018. This included a concept design for the preferred route, transport assessment and modelling, preparation of an environmental impact assessment and public consultation on two route options. 

Stage 3 scheme development commenced in June 2018.

Project Objectives

Carlisle Southern Link Road Project Objectives (JPEG 316KB) 

Project Timescales

The project is dependent on the availability and securing of funding. It is also dependent on legal statutory processes including the planning permission process and the acquisition of land for the route. If challenges faced by funding and statutory procedures can be dealt with effectively the team are currently working to a date for beginning of construction in Spring 2021.

Carlisle Southern Link Road Project Timeline (JPEG 93KB) 

Project Cost and Funding

The cost of the project is estimated to be £ 112m. Funding for the initial design stages of the project has been allocated from Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council. The project team has submitted an application to the Housing Infrastructure Fund in September 2018 for funding to build the road. 

Project Environmental Impacts

The impact on the local environment has been considered and a Stage 2 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) prepared. Further work on assessing the environmental impact will be undertaken as the scheme is developed further. 

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been completed as part of the scheme development, this is summarised in the Environmental Report Non-Technical Summary (PDF 5MB)

Look ahead:

Planned for January 2019

  • Receive the Ground Investigation survey report
  • Start the winter ecological surveys including wintering birds and otters.
  • Start the Environmental Impact Assessment on the Preferred Route
  • Progress the highway design 

Undertaken in:

December 2018:

  • Completed Topographical survey work on site
  • Completed ecological surveys for hedgerows, reptiles and invertebrates
  • Progressed the development of the highway design
  • Progressed transport modelling

November 2018

  • Completed Ground Investigation site work
  • Progressed Topographical Survey work
  • Preparation of reports to document the ecological surveys
  • Progressed the development of the highway design

October 2018

  • completed meetings with landowners to arrange access for survey work
  • started ground investigation site work
  • started Topographical Survey work
  • ecological surveys; completed the badger surveys and this year's bat surveys 
  • progressed the development of the highway design

September 2018

  • submitted the Outline Business Case to Government to be considered for funding to build the road
  • continued to meet landowners to arrange access for survey work
  • continued with ecological surveys including hedgerow, reptile and otter surveys
  • ground investigation and topographical surveys planned ready to commence in October
  • progressed the development of the highway design

July 2018

  • meetings with landowners to arrange access for survey work
  • started ecological surveys
  • progressed the development of the Outline Business Case
  • completed the Economic Assessment report

June 2018

  • announced the preferred route for the Carlisle Southern Link Road
  • published the Preferred Route Decision Published report
  • published the Non-Technical Summary of Environmental Impact Assessment
  • published the consultation reports
  • progressed the economic assessment 
  • progressed the Outline Business Case
  • developed the delivery plan for the next stage of work

May 2018

  • finalised Consultation Feedback Report and prepared Consultation Feedback Summary
  • completion of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
  • progressed Economic Assessment Report
  • completed analysis to inform the preferred route decision
  • preparation of the Preferred Route Decision Report

April 2018

  • completion of draft Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • preparation of draft Consultation Report.
  • Outline Business Case progressed.
  • information on scheme development provided to the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

March 2018

  • public consultation closed (9th March) with over 1000 people attending the public exhibition events.
  • public consultation assessment of feedback commenced.
  • land valuation survey completed.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment draft completed and under review.
  • Outline Business Case progressed.
  • Expression of Interest application to the Housing Infrastructure Fund successful.
  • initial work on full submission to the Housing Infrastructure Fund started.

February 2018

  • public consultation drop-in events held - two days at Carlisle Racecourse and two days in the Lanes Shopping Centre.
  • technical assessments to inform a preferred route decision ongoing.
  • risk workshop held and cost risk analysis undertaken.

January 2018

  • public consultation launched 26 January.
  • consultation materials developed including the consultation document, consultation questionnaire and display materials for public events.
  • engagement ongoing with directly affected landowners.
  • route cost estimates developed.

December 2017

  • route option concepts finalised using updated environmental and traffic data.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment progressed further.
  • preparation for landowner and public consultation activity in early 2018.
  • preparation of consultation documentation.

November 2017

  • agricultural land classification surveys completed.
  • drainage surveys and field assessment completed.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment progressed using survey results.
  • design of routes developed following Environmental Impact Assessment feedback.
  • traffic modelling progressed.
  • cost estimates started.
  • joint working forums with St Cuthbert's Garden Village team.

October 2017

  • ecological, noise and landscape surveys completed. Structural assessments of existing bridges completed.
  • route options developed in line with emerging constraint assessments.
  • Non-Motorised User (NMU) counts to survey pedestrian, equestrian and cyclist numbers and movements completed.
  • opportunities for flood alleviation investigated.

September 2017

  • landowners to the south of Carlisle contacted to agree access for ecological and noise surveys and assessments to help inform the route options.
  • consultation with regulatory stakeholders including the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Highways Agency to ensure that high level regulatory issues are identified at this early stage of the project.
  • ecological surveys started.
  • Expression of Interest (EOI) application to the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) submitted. 

August 2017

  • consultant team (Capita) appointed to take the development of the route options forward.
  • a wide study area identified between Junction 42 of the M6 and Peter Lane.
  • optional route option corridors developed for the project in line with Transport Assessment Guidance (TAG) and the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB).
  • route option corridors were based on various factors including the required size of the road, impacts on communities, available crossing points for rivers and railways, environmental sensitivity of areas, ability to serve as link to new housing and project costs.

The consultation is now closed.

Following a period of scheme development and assessment two route options were identified for a Carlisle Southern Link Road. From 26 January to 9 March 2018 the County Council undertook a period of public consultation to seek the views of the public, and other stakeholders, in order to inform a decision about which of these two route options should be taken forward to the next stage of the development process. 

The Carlisle Southern Link Road Consultation Document provides information on the process that was undertaken and the Link Road proposals:  Public Consultation on Route Options for a Carlisle Southern Link Road (PDF 3903kb)

Following extensive consultation on two route options earlier this year, the consultation feedback is available in the Consultation Feedback Report (PDF 6MB) and a summary of this in the Consultation Feedback Summary (PDF 3MB). The Carlisle Southern Link Road Route options video and Flyover video illustrate the two options.

Link Road funding bid submitted (13 September 2018)

Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council submit Outline Business Case to Housing Infrastructure Fund. 

Green light for green route - Carlisle Southern Link Road plans take next step (22 June 2018)

Following extensive public consultation and technical work the 'green route' has been selected as the preferred option for the new Carlisle Southern Link Road.

Link road moves to next stage in funding bid (21 March 2018) 

Plans for the new Carlisle Southern Link Road received a major boost today with news that the scheme has been selected by Government to move to the next stage of its funding bid.

Public invited to have their say on St Cuthbert's Garden Village and Southern Link Road proposals (26 January 2018) 

Local residents, businesses and organisations are being asked to have their say on proposals to create a new Garden Village on the south side of Carlisle, and the associated development of a new southern link road, as part of public consultations launched by the city and county councils.

Funding bid for southern link road (29 September 2017) 

An application was submitted in September 2017 for the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF). The 'HIF' is a £ 2.3 billion Fund which offers funding to local authorities on a competitive basis, for infrastructure to support up to 100,000 new homes.

Plans to investigate a southern link road for Carlisle begin (25 August 2017)

As part of developing an improved road network in and around Carlisle, Cumbria County Council are in the early stages of exploring the possibility of a Southern Link Road for Carlisle. Capita have been commissioned to undertake this early work which is planned to take place between the end of August 2017 and the beginning of October 2017.

If you have any queries or comments regarding the Carlisle Southern Link Road project, please contact the project team at