Barrow Regeneration appoints Cairns as chairman

Michael Hunt

Rob Cairns, chief executive of Furness Building Society, has been appointed chair of Barrow Regeneration.

Cairns will be responsible for overseeing the delivery of a programme of activity that includes the £180m Waterfront Barrow-in-Furness business, residential and leisure development.

The fifty nine year old was appointed for the position by fellow members of the Barrow Regeneration board, and takes the reins from interim chair Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the North West Development Agency.

Cairns will oversee the performance of Barrow Regeneration delivery team, led by programme director Bob Pointing. As part of a restructure of Cumbria's regeneration organisations, Barrow Regeneration has become the single decision-making body for all regeneration activity across Cumbria's second largest urban centre, consolidating and building on the work carried out by urban regeneration company West Lakes Renaissance and the Barrow and Furness Peninsular Task Force.

The organisation is focused on delivering six co-ordinated regeneration programmes that aim to ensure Barrow has the infrastructure, skills and communities needed to deliver sustainable economic growth and establish the town as a vibrant place to live, work, visit and invest. Barrow Regeneration will also play a role in helping to deliver the Britain's Energy Coast vision for Furness and West Cumbria.

Barrow Regeneration said that programmes will include:

  • Waterfront Business Park, to support business growth and job creation
  • Barrow Marina Village and Leisure Marina, to meet the housing and leisure needs of a progressive town
  • The revamp of Barrow town centre to boost its trading position in Cumbria and the North West
  • A multi-million Housing Market Renewal programme to upgrade and demolish obsolete housing stock
  • Tackling worklessness, helping new and expanding businesses and developing a more entrepreneurial economy through its enterprise and skills support prgramme
  • Attracting and retaining more young people through the Talented Minds initiative by providing them with a range of training, leisure and cultural opportunities

Cairns said: "I'm delighted to have been appointed chair and now look forward to rolling up my sleeves and doing all I can to ensure Barrow receives the support it needs. I'm passionate about Barrow and the prosperity of its businesses and communities and, like many, believe an exciting future lies ahead for this proud town. Therefore my focus will be on ensuring the wide spectrum of planned developments take place as soon as they can."

Cairns previously worked as acting chairman and director of West Lakes Renaissance, taking a position on the Barrow Regeneration board when West Lakes was divided into Barrow Regeneration and Britain's Energy Coast West Cumbria in 2009.

He brings experience in banking and finance, having worked for Abbey National, Britannia and Cumberland Building Societies before becoming chief executive and director of Furness Building Society in 1997.

Cairns is also a director of Furness Enterprise, chairman of Barrow Community Trust and More Music and a trustee of Cumbria Community Foundation. He is president of Walney Junior Amateur Operatic Society, an adviser to Barrow AFC and sits on the Cumbria County Cricket Club committee.

Bob Pointing said: "Rob brings massive experience in the property and housing sectors, has dedicated himself to Barrow and many good causes here, and has ably chaired our Board meetings in the past, bringing good Scouse humour laced with an iron firmness when required.

"Our previous chairman, Steven Broomhead, always indicated he would stand down after the Election and I would like to thank him for his help and support over the last six months. But moving forward I'm delighted that Rob Cairns has now picked up the baton. The decision of the Board was unanimous, showing the level of support and confidence he enjoys."

Cairns is one of five private sector members of the Barrow Regeneration board appointed.

Other members are Jackie Arnold, chief accountant at BAE Systems Submarine Solutions in Barrow, independent property consultant Gwynne Furlong, Martin Newsholme, a partner at KPMG and Dale Williams, general manager at Robert McBride in Barrow.

Barrow Council, Cumbria County Council, Furness Partnership, North West Development Agency and the Homes & Communities Agency are represented from the public sector.

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