FURTHER details have emerged on the £13 million of government funding to improve the ‘very tired looking’ Kendal town centre.

On Monday it was announced that the government had granted £13,476,000 through the levelling up fund for the Heart of Kendal project to improve a number of elements across the town centre.

Leader of the Westmorland and Furness Council, councillor Jonathan Brook (Kendal South, Lib Dems), described the announcement as a ‘bolt out the blue’ and said he hoped this investment is only the start.

He said: “We’re over the moon with the £13 million but our hope would be that further investment would flow on the back of it and we would begin to see significant improvement across the town centre itself.”

Among the proposals are the creation of a third campus for Kendal College on level one and two of the Westmorland Shopping Centre which will house up to 400 students a day.

The Market Place level of the shopping centre is currently accessed from the multi storey car park on Blackhall Road linking it to Highgate. It is proposed this will be replaced with a new route from the car park to Market Place through the historic Market Hall.

This will improve the security of the campus by allowing control of the entrances to the campus on the first floor and increase the number of people going through Market Hall.

General manager of Kendal Futures Paula Scott said: “Having the Kendal college campus in the town centre will really enliven it, it will bring more footfall to use the shops and services which will protect them for the future.”

Kendal Futures is a partnership between public and private sector partners  and both the town council and Westmorland and Furness Council sit on the board.

The organisation developed the ‘Kendal Vision’ through a public consultation and Ms Scott said the proposed projects align with this vision.

Ms Scott added the success of the bid showed the importance of partnership working and illustrates what ‘bringing the public and private sector together can actually do’.

Other proposals include the renewal of the Market Place to restore its position as the ‘beating heart of the town’.

Kendal Town Council clerk Chris Bagshaw said the plans should make it a ‘splendid market place in one of the best market towns in the north of England’.

Initial plans include improving the place for spill out space for meeting, eating, drinking and socialising, open air performances and gigs, town festivals, regular farmer’s markets, outdoor cinema screenings in the summer, winter market and Christmas festivities, arts and literary events as well as remembrance events.

Mr Bagshaw also spoke of the need for investment in the town centre.

He said: “Kendal town centre, most of us agree, is desperately in need of a refresh, it’s looking very tired in places particularly around the market place and shopping centre, it’s a long time since we’ve had any major investment.”

The initial bid for the funding was submitted in 2022 and although figures were correct at that time, they will now need to be reviewed given inflationary pressures.

A project to make Kent Street more pedestrian friendly is also proposed and this could include the introduction of street trees, natural stone paving and discreet raised footpath detailing to improve road safety.

Proposals are also in place to upgrade the materials and landscape to the riverside path between Miller Bridge and Abbot Hall to better connect the town centre to the arts venues and conservation area of Kirkland, along the River Kent.

Ms Scott added on the projects: “People will have public spaces they will enjoy and want to spend time in.”