TRADERS and business owners have given their views on the Kendal College campus going into the second phase of development at the Westmorland Shopping Centre. 

Kendal College started fully occupying the first and second floors of the building after the worked started on June 17.

Principal Kelvin Nash said: "This is a bold and exciting move for Kendal College and an exciting opportunity for the town."

Contractor Redbridge started the work with shoppers using the newly built alternative routes through to the centre to the market and ground floor. The first phase, which was finished in 2022, created a reception area, a social space and several classrooms.

The new work will bring a mock hospital ward, lecture theatre, a TV studio and production facilities to the campus over the coming months. 

Kelvin Nash at the market square entrance to the shopping centreKelvin Nash at the market square entrance to the shopping centre (Image: Newsquest, Daniel Pye)

The college said it anticipated local businesses would benefit from the development because an expected 400 to 500 will regularly attend the new Westmorland Campus, increasing footfall. 

David Wilson, who runs the Kendal Sweet Shop in the indoor section of the market, said: "From our view we've gained customers. Even though it's not fully running yet we are gaining people from students and teachers and college staff."

However, Mr Wilson made the case footfall from non-students has dropped.

He said: "The view seems to be in Kendal that because they've taken that part of the shopping centre everything else up here has gone including the market - that is the downside."

Lisa Robinson, who runs Kendal Craft Hub in the market, said: "I've quite mixed feelings about it at the moment. We thought it was going to be a really positive thing with the students in where there were a lot of empty shop units."

Evelyn Key, owner of Tilly's Cafe in the ginnel between Stricklandgate and the back of the shopping centre, said: "There's more footfall but you just see them going to McDonald's. So it doesn't really help us in the slightest."