BIDS for a combined £52 million in funding to transform Barrow for the future have received a final seal of approval from borough councillors.

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 £22 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 received the backing of members of Barrow Borough Council’s full council.

They were submitted to the government on Friday, July 31.

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

“They were both discussed at our full council meeting where they were approved by members.

“A huge amount of work has gone into both submissions, remaining on course even through lockdown, and we are all very proud to be among the first authorities in the country to submit them to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government this week.”

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 £22 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

An extensive public consultation exercise took place in respect of both bids with detailed business cases drawn up to support each submission. 

It is hoped a decision on their success will be reached by the government this autumn.

Councillor Thomson added: “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.”