£200m Barrow Waterfront will go ahead, council leader pledges
Published on: Friday 6th April 2018
Barrow has waited for more than a decade but the town has taken a huge step towards an ambitious £200m luxury marina village and business park.
The Barrow Waterfront project has been in the pipeline since 2007 when Barrow Borough Council came up with the vision alongside West Lakes Renaissance and the regional development agency.
As well as a business park the site would also include 700 luxury homes, a cruise ship terminal, nature reserve, watersports centre and a multi-purpose sports stadium.
Two years ago work started to create a new junction in Salthouse Road to offer access to the business park which was seen as a key milestone for project.
Council bosses hope the work will act as a stimulus for private sector development on the seven-hectare site.
Thanks to £7.2m in funding sourced by Cumbria's Local Enterprise Partnership the business park remediation work is now nearing completion and interested investors have already visited the site.
Barrow Borough Council leader Dave Pidduck, is "100 per cent" certain that housebuilders will be keen to get involved in the marina village.
His confidence however, isn't shared by experienced estate agent David Corrie, who said at best the luxury waterfront flats vision was "very speculative".
"In terms of the commercial, employment land that was badly needed and with the anticipation of the work and investment from BAE Systems, at Sellafield, and in Morecambe Bay I think it's important we have some land ready," Mr Corrie said.
"I wouldn't have thought housebuilders would be interested in the land; there are other sites available which are in better locations.
"The market struggles in places like Liverpool for waterfront developments and I think round here people are looking more for nice family homes rather than waterfront flats."
But Coun Pidduck disagrees. As a long-standing councillor he has been involved with the Waterfront project from the start and is confident the council's vision will come to fruition.
Although he admitted he hoped he lived to see the marina village side of the project, Coun Pidduck insisted: "I am 100 per cent convinced we will see that full, artist's impression image brought to life.
"Obviously the project stalled when we lost the regional development agencies but when you look at how much we've managed to secure and what's been done it's a massive achievement.
"These things can be a long process but we have seen real and significant progress."
The roadworks at the site have caused chaos for motorists for over a year and became so infamous one resident put up balloons and a birthday card last month to mark 12 months since work started.
Despite the temporary lights being put back up this week after motorists were told they would not return, highways bosses say that, subject to weather conditions, the lights will be removed for good by the end of today.