Escalators at Westmorland Shopping Centre have been decommissioned to be removed and make way for a brand new college campus.

Work started early last year to transform the upper floor of the Shopping Centre into a 58,000 sq metres educational space for Kendal College.

Student numbers have grown substantially over recent years, Kendal College previously said, and its campuses at Milnthorpe Road and Beezon Road are at capacity.

The college had been forced to use portacabins to facilitate continued growth with the new third campus helping relieve this pressure with around 400 students expected to use it.

The removal of the escalators over October 9/10/11 will facilitate a new central piazza created which will become a hub for events and new mall retailers.

The Westmorland Gazette: The escalators are currently being decommissioned

Centre manager Rory Fleming said: "As works continue to create the new campus for Kendal College on the upper level there is no longer a requirement for the customer escalators.  

"Once the escalators are removed the open void between levels will be filled in creating additional floor space for the college campus under the glass atrium.

"At shopping level on the ground floor the removal of the escalators will open up the mall creating a spacious new central piazza.

"A new place to meet, to dwell and a new place to host events, promotions and additional retail opportunities . The malls will also benefit  from redecoration and new lighting.

"A new link corridor is currently under construction from the Market Hall through to the car park and lift lobbies.  

"This will ensure customers can continue to have step-free access between the Market Hall and shopping on the ground floor, as well as access to the multistorey car park  

"Directional signage will be in place once the new corridor is opened."

The campus will house a lecture theatre, science labs, IT and media spaces, and conference rooms.

A large, open-plan atrium is set to support the college’s existing relationships with community projects, festivals and events.

The plan is to consolidate all shops and stores onto the lower floor.

In terms of Market Place Mall, an information billboard within the shopping centre says: "Market Place Mall will continue to provide a warm welcome to Kendal's famous Market Hall as well as more great retailers. 

"This mall will also serve as a main entrance point to the new college campus which will generate increased levels of footfall to the specialist retailers and add to the vibrancy of the Market Hall offer." 

The Westmorland Gazette: The lower level of Westmorland Shopping Centre boarded up

Kendal College is working with Praxis Real Estate Management on the reconfiguration plans to occupy the Westmorland Shopping Centre in phases.

Much of the reconstruction work has been undertaken outside of shopping hours to minimise disruption.