Barrow Regeneration chairman Easton resigns

Michael Hunt

Murray Easton, chair of Barrow Regeneration, resigned from his position yesterday after being in the role for five months.

Easton has not disclosed where he is moving to.

However, in a resignation note, he said: "It is with huge regret that I must tender my resignation as chairman of Barrow Regeneration (previously Barrow Vision).

"It has been tremendously satisfying to have held this part-time, non-executive role, and I hope that people will see I have made a small, but worthwhile contribution towards taking forward Barrow's regeneration agenda.

"From the outset I have privately stressed that I would happily carry out this role for the benefit of Barrow and Cumbria, which I value so much, for as long as I was free from the constraints of executive employment.

"I have now accepted a full-time job that will not allow me to devote the necessary time the role of chair of Barrow Regeneration both requires and deserves, and I must therefore, and very reluctantly, relinquish the post.

"In just a few months it has become clear to me the great progress and sense of teamwork demonstrated by partners, including Barrow Borough Council, Cumbria County Council, North West Development Agency, Furness Enterprise, and of course Barrow Regeneration. They have sound strategic plans to progress and the calibre and energy of those, both at board and executive level, has been a privilege to experience.

"There is much to achieve, priorities to address and challenges to funding, but I have no doubt, in the hands of those who contribute so much to our town and to the region, that Barrow and Cumbria will prosper.

"I am grateful for having had the chance to share in this work, albeit for a short time. I wish you all well, and will certainly continue to watch your success with pride."

The former director of BAE Systems' submarines division wanted to stress he did not claim any fees for his resignation as has been reported elsewhere.

Barrow Regeneration is one of four delivery boards comprising the Cumbria Vision sub-regional partnership.

Roger Liddle, chair of economic development agency Cumbria Vision, said: "I am obviously disappointed to be losing Murray as chair of the Barrow Vision regeneration delivery board and as a member of the Cumbria Vision board, but it was no surprise that someone of Murray's outstanding talent has been snapped up elsewhere. I know people in Barrow will miss him very much.

"However, we should be positive. During his short spell as chair he has made an extremely valuable contribution to galvanising the Barrow Vision board and setting a clear and focused direction for the renaissance of the town. His passion and tenacity to get the job done will be missed, but I recognise these strong qualities, along with his wealth of expertise, would always be in great demand in the private sector.

"I understand his decision, and will be joined by all who sit on the Barrow Vision and Cumbria Vision boards in wishing him well for the future. Now we have to move forward and start the process of finding an equally skilled chair to take the baton and move forward Barrow's regeneration programme – a tough job but important job."

Further acknowledgments have also been made from the North West Development Agency and Cumbria County Council.

Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, added: "I would like to thank Murray for his valuable work in the regeneration of Barrow, not only through the new Board, also in his role on the previous Barrow Task Force and for his strong leadership and his many achievements at the Barrow shipyard. I would like to wish him the very best of luck in his new role."

Cllr Tony Markley, Cumbria County Council's cabinet member responsible for economic development, commented: "Murray has done a fantastic job of laying the foundations for Barrow Regeneration to be the key engine for economic growth in the Furness area. His legacy as a champion of Barrow is already secured through his work in turning round BAE in the town.

"I'm confident that the roots he has laid down for Barrow Regeneration will help create another legacy for years to come. I understand and appreciate his reasons for moving on, but can't pretend I wasn't disappointed to hear the news. There's a strong team of people in place to carry on the work in the interim before we appoint a new chair."

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