Ambitious plans to transform Barrow town centre through £25 million funding bid revealed

FINAL preparations are being made to a major regeneration scheme that would transform and increase footfall in Barrow’s town centre.

Barrow Indoor Market, Barrow Town Hall and its surrounds would become an exciting destination under the ambitious new proposals - drawing in people from across the county and beyond.

The plans are set to be submitted to the government this month in a bid to secure £25 million from the Future High Streets Fund to ensure Barrow thrives for generations to come.

Today, an artist's impression is released revealing an exciting glimpse into the proposals should they get a green light from ministers.

The proposal includes a contemporary new look for Barrow Indoor Market, creating a welcoming space for shoppers and a bustling environment that allows independent businesses and traders to thrive and grow.

The iconic Grade II-listed Barrow Town Hall would once again become a community hub - with a public reception area, visitor information and space to host weddings, events and exhibitions.

The town square at the front of the building would be transformed into a high quality public space with a play park, gardens and events area for recreation and leisure. This location would be used to host a vibrant calendar of events throughout the year.  

And a series of improvements to the public realm would provide a central transit hub to improve the area’s connectivity.

Councillor Ann Thomson, leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: “This is a very exciting scheme that has the potential to change perceptions of our town and to draw people here from across the area.

“These landmark projects offer benefits for everyone. A revitalised urban area would provide leisure and cultural experiences to bring people into our town centre by changing the offer, their expectations and the experience they have.

“The market is already a superb incubator of independent businesses. This scheme would build on that, creating a busy, attractive environment that people will want to visit and spend time in.

“Barrow Town Hall is an incredible building. We’re lucky to have an architectural gem like this in the very heart of our town. 

“It would be fantastic to see it playing a more central role in the lives of both residents and visitors, connecting to a central area for leisure and events and served by excellent public transport links.”

The proposals were drawn up based on feedback from public consultation exercises held in January and February. They drew responses and ideas from around 800 people.

A detailed business case to support the funding bid is now in the final stages of completion.

It is due to be submitted to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government later this month.

Cllr Thomson added: “An opportunity to secure funding to complete regeneration work like this is very rare. But we believe we’ve got a strong proposal to put forward to the Future High Streets Fund, thanks, in no small part, to the feedback and engagement we’ve had from members of the public earlier this year.”

The £25 million in Future High Streets Funding is in addition to £25 million sought from the Towns Fund through #BrilliantBarrow, a collection of innovative projects designed to transform Barrow for the future.