Barrow ramps up major project procurement

Towns Fund support of £25m and £16m through the Levelling Up Fund have been secured by the council, which now hopes to appoint a single contractor for interconnected work across the two funding streams.

Barrow Council secured £16m through the Government’s Levelling Up Fund in October last year for improvements to Barrow Market and its exterior.

A total of £25m was rubber-stamped in February for the #BrilliantBarrow slate of projects from the Government’s Towns Fund, covering seven schemes in total.

Two of these projects – #BrilliantBarrow Place Development and Community Wellbeing Hubs – also have elements that are focused in the immediate vicinity of Barrow Market.

The council is now launching a special procurement exercise to investigate whether a total funding envelope of around £16m can be awarded to a single contractor in order to maximise efficiencies and minimise disruption, with completion by 2025 being the target.

Cllr Ann Thomson, leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: “Both of these schemes represent a huge opportunity for the regeneration of our town centre.

“It’s rare for two regeneration schemes of this magnitude to come along at once but it is to be welcomed because it opens up the chance for us to look at ways in which we can be as efficient as possible by taking a joint approach to delivery.”

The Levelling Up Funding will improve Barrow’s Market Hall as well as creating a food hall and children’s soft play area. The work will also include the creation of a shared entrance to both The Market Hall and The Forum on Duke Street.

The #BrilliantBarrow Place Development project will see the area to the rear of Barrow Market, as well as at The Dock Museum, overhauled to provide a home for a new events and entertainment programme.

Meanwhile a new network of #BrilliantBarrow community hubs will include one located at The Forum – providing a home for activities and services for people in all stages of life.

The plans were developed following a series of public consultations during 2020 and 2021.

Cllr Thomson added: “There’s a lot of work to do to deliver these schemes, particularly in the timescale set.

“I’m pleased this is getting under way and that we are now moving towards realising the benefits and opportunities each one will harness for Barrow.”

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