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Once-in-a-generation bids for combined £55 million transformational funding for Barrow to be submitted to government

Barrow

BIDS for a combined £55 million in funding to transform Barrow for the future are set to be submitted to the government this month.

The #BrilliantBarrow initiative calls for £30 million from the Towns Fund for a series of innovative projects to ensure the borough thrives as a great place to live, work and visit.

A further £25 million is being sought from the Future High Streets Fund to renew and regenerate Barrow’s town centre to increase footfall, retain spend and draw people from a wide area.

Both will be discussed at a meeting of Barrow Borough Council’s executive committee on Monday, July 27 and full council on Tuesday, July 28.

Councillor Ann Thomson, leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: “The submission of these two bids is a landmark moment for our town.

“Both detail a bright new future for Barrow. A future that has the potential to change perceptions and offer new opportunities.

“Each one of these two funds represents a once-in-a-generation chance to ensure Barrow thrives as a great place to live, work and visit, addressing inequalities along the way and ensuring our young people see a strong future here.”

The Future High Streets Fund was set up by the government to offer towns the chance to complete major regeneration works to create a vibrant and sustainable identity for their high street.

If successful, Barrow’s bid for £25 million would include:

  • A contemporary new look for Barrow Indoor Market to help independent businesses to thrive and grow.
  • Grade II*-listed Barrow Town Hall would offer a public reception area, visitor information hub and space to host weddings, public events and exhibitions
  • The transformation of the town square in front of Barrow Town Hall to high quality public space including a play park and a gardens and events area to host a vibrant calendar of events throughout the year
  • Public realm improvements and the creation of a transport hub to provide better connectivity to the town centre development area

#BrilliantBarrow features seven shortlisted projects and aims to secure almost £30 million from the Towns Fund.

Barrow Towns Deal Board was set up to help set priorities for the town and shape the funding bid. It is made up of representatives from public and private sector organisations in the borough.

The shortlisted proposals that make up #BrilliantBarrow are:

  • A university-style campus facility offering both further and higher education courses
  • A network of community resilience hubs
  • A programme of bespoke business support provided to residents, entrepreneurs and SMEs to harness the economic opportunities in Barrow
  • The development of a calendar of events and festivals to draw people to the area
  • A programme of housing renewal
  • New cycling and walking infrastructure to allow Barrow to become an active travel town
  • Preparations to allow Barrow’s Marina Village to get underway

Despite the restrictions of lockdown, an extensive public consultation exercise has taken place in respect of both bids.

Detailed business cases have also been drawn up to support each submission. These are set to be submitted to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government later this month.

Cllr Thomson added: “A huge amount of work has gone into the development of these two bids which we hope will be successful in securing a total of £55 million for Barrow.

“Something I’m very proud of is the level of engagement and feedback we’ve had on the proposals from our communities throughout the process. People have been keen to get involved and show their support which is vital.

“These are bold and ambitious proposals that will mark a significant change for Barrow.

“We are committed to putting our residents at the heart of all we do and that includes creating opportunities for everyone to thrive.

“Barrow is an incredible place with strong communities. The success of these funding bids would enable us to build upon and make the most of these assets to make sure our future is strong for generations to come.”

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