Key Barrow buildings set to transform after planning permission secured

A once-in-a-generation scheme to transform part of Barrow’s town centre is to go ahead after planning permission for a key aspect of the project was secured.

The frontage of Barrow’s Market Hall, along with neighbouring arts and entertainment venue The Forum, will be given a bright, modern new look that better reflects its prominent location opposite the Grade II-listed Barrow Town Hall.

The work is key to a £17.5 million Levelling Up Fund scheme to reinvigorate the building and the public realm that surrounds it to attract more people into the town centre, bringing the community together and boosting the local economy.

The plans were approved by members of Westmorland and Furness Council’s Barrow-in-Furness Local Area Planning Committee on Tuesday, June 6.

The approval comes at an exciting time for Barrow and the Furness peninsula, as millions of pounds is being invested in employment, education and regeneration through the Brilliant Barrow Town Deal. Thousands of extra jobs are also set to be created at BAE Systems Ltd sparking a host of exciting opportunities for the area spanning decades into the future.

Councillor Virginia Taylor, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet member for Sustainable Communities and Localities, said: “This scheme will give Barrow’s town centre a bright new look so both residents and visitors will love to visit and spend time here.

“Getting planning approval is a huge milestone to have reached and now work to the facade of the buildings can get underway this summer. People can still visit their favourite traders throughout the process though –  the market itself will remain open as usual.

“My thanks go to everyone involved in bringing the scheme to this stage. Regeneration projects on this scale are complex and I’m delighted to see Barrow’s new look really getting underway.”

Changes to the frontage of the market hall building and The Forum, in Duke Street, will help to create a light-filled destination that offers shopping, activities and entertainment for people of all ages during the daytime and into the evenings.

The work will include a new accessible entrance on Duke Street providing a gateway to both Barrow Market and The Forum. Existing shop units that front Duke Street will be removed to allow sunlight to illuminate further into the market hall so that those passing the building can see the hive of activity within.

Other proposed changes in the application include:

  • Removal of the pitched roof to The Forum entrance and replacement with a flat roof.
  • Refurbished entrances and new canopies to all building entrances.
  • Solar control glazing added to the Market Hall and The Forum entrances.
  • Removal of the steel columns and non-functional elements from the Market Hall and The Forum Duke Street elevation to enhance the setting of the Central Barrow Conservation Area.

The scheme was informed using feedback from two public consultations which have also helped to shape proposals for the Market Hall’s interior – including what type of food, drink and goods stalls it could offer in the future, and events and leisure activities that could take place.

A community hub also will be created in The Forum thanks to funding from the #BrilliantBarrow Town Deal along with a pocket park in Stephen Street and space for outdoor events.

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