[S]ite reclamation and improvement work to transform derelict land into a new business park for employment and advanced manufacturing growth in Barrow is nearing completion.
Since 2015, Barrow Waterfront, one of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s flagship investment projects, has been undergoing site clearance and levelling, decontamination work, removal of industrial debris, provision of utilities, landscaping and raised earthworks for flood protection measures.
Working in partnership with Cumbria County Council and Barrow Borough Council, Cumbria LEP has invested nearly £7.2m of Growth Deal funding in the project, including £1m from the Cumbria Infrastructure Fund.
The latest phase has involved the import of 60,000 tons of capping material from local quarries. The remediation of land on the site has sought to minimise waste disposal, with a significant amount of material treated and retested to ensure all contaminants from previous industrial site usage are removed and transferred to licensed facilities for appropriate treatment.
Site access has also progressed with a new road junction onto the Marina Village site, including landscaping, perimeter fencing, improved road lighting, new pedestrian pavements and a traffic island for safer road crossing. A crucial aspect is the provision of utilities so that developers can seamlessly connect water, electric, gas and telecommunications to buildings as and when they are constructed.
Graham Haywood, Director of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, says: “Barrow Waterfront’s business park will nurture the county’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, creating more jobs and business opportunities for the town.
“The work to prepare the site has opened up around 7 hectares of land for new employment floor space. It is estimated that this could help create between 1,200 and 1,600 jobs.”
Cllr David Southward, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member responsible for Economic Development, adds: “We’ve given tours to a number of developers interested in the site, so it’s already creating a bit of a buzz. Final landscaping works and site regrading works are being undertaken by contractors this spring.
“All the materials used for the site have been sourced from local quarries and local contractors have been used wherever possible. It’s been a fascinating project in which to be involved, and it’s delivered benefits not only for business development, but also for the community and local ecology in the area.”
Public realm enhancements have also been made around the site access to the frontage of a row of grade II listed cottages believed to be some of the oldest properties in Barrow.
And the project has involved a great deal of behind the scenes work to protect local ecology and wildlife, as well as to provide local residents with additional facilities as the development has taken shape.
Cumbria County Council has also been working with Natural England to relocate wildlife, including slow worms and common lizards, to nearby Walney Island and the slag banks and created additional areas of habitat on the Barrow Waterfront site itself.
The project has also included the provision of a small community garden for local residents and the creation of high quality allotment space to replace derelict allotments on the development site.
For further information about the LEP, please visit www.thecumbrialep.co.uk