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March 24, 2019

The Future of Barrow Town Centre

March 24, 2019

Confirmation of Support for Barrow Town Centre Future High Street Fund EOI bid to Government.


This letter confirms Maritime Apartments support for the Barrow in Furness Town Centre Future High Streets Fund Expression of Interest application, to be approved by HM Government.


It is vital, in order to survive and grow as an isolated industrious coastal area that our Town Centre and High Street grow also. The potential of further industry growth is uncapped. We are one of the most successful Industrial towns from many perspectives, yet with a poor reputation for opportunity, creativity and social status. Compared to the majority of the country Barrow is suffering at the hands of well documented social inequality.


At Maritime Apartments we rely on our local Industry to attract new talent and skills from around the world to work on Barrow’s great projects. We accommodate over 200 contractors here who are in Barrow to work at large organisations such as BAE Systems, Barrow Offshore Wind Farms and Furness General Hospital.


Attracting employees to the area with the rights skills is absolutely crucial for the local industry. As well as retaining skills who all too often move to ‘bigger and better’ cities.


Attracting Tourism also plays a large part in the survival of our town and unfortunately has never reached its potential. Although we have beaches, visitor centres and we are on the door step of the lakes, there isn’t much on offer in terms of shopping and café culture.


The local community has now perhaps forgotten that our town centre was once more than a passage along which to hurry from the car to the bank. The pathways and pavements that were once the veins of the community are now abandoned, with empty boarded shop fronts and wasted high street chains. They scream ‘we have nothing left’, yet we do, we have huge opportunity. These under-used assets could be enhanced to help revitalise our town centre, boost economic performance, support regeneration, and build community pride and social integration.


We need to re-imagine Barrow town centre and Dalton Road (the main high street), ensuring we offer something new and different that neither out-of-town shopping centres nor the internet can match – an experience that goes beyond retail, with creative use of public spaces and a vibrant evening economy.


The potential for Barrow Town Centre to support growth in the evening and night-time economy especially, should not be ignored – not just in terms of outside seating areas for pubs, bars and restaurants, but also events such as night markets, outdoor concerts and theatre. Clever lighting can highlight attractive or historical features and architectural details, deter anti-social behaviour, and increase safety.


Green spaces and play spaces can also provide further reason for people to visit our town centre, as well as encouraging them to stay longer when they do. Design can create adaptable spaces where people of all ages and abilities can work, rest, relax and play. On a nice day we should be heading to the town, not the beer gardens… to finish I will quote my son who is 8, as he is the new generation:


“We need a Fair and a garden bit where we can have a picnic like when we went to Liverpool. A building called ‘Funland’ and a shop I can game in and try new games before I buy them and also a place for mums in there so you won’t be bored and can have a cup of tea and talk to other bored mums.“ – Cooper Pearce, Age 8, Barrow in Furness.

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