Major milestone reached in Marina Village journey

A key piece of land in the heart of Barrow is now ready for development so it can provide high-quality homes in the future.

Phase one of a project to clear and remediate the first six hectares of the Marina Village site got under way last year, delivered by Westmorland and Furness Council thanks to funding of £5.5 million provided by Cumbria LEP from the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

The first phase of this prime town centre location, close to BAE Systems and the proposed University Campus, will support the delivery of 214 housing units.

Phases one and two of the site, which has the working title of Marina Village, will provide 808 new homes, a nature conservation area and new public open spaces – a vital part of Barrow’s wider regeneration agenda, creating a vibrant community, providing new housing in the heart of the town near to centres of education, major employers and local shops and businesses, changing perceptions of Barrow as a place to live.

Partners involved in delivering phase one met at the site recently to see the results for themselves.

Cllr Judith Derbyshire, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness at Westmorland and Furness Council, said: “We’ve got so many jobs coming into the area at BAE, Spirit Energy and others so we need to provide the houses for the future, for the future workforce but also for those people in the area needing housing, so this former industrial site has been renewed and decontaminated to be able to allow it to be used for housing in the future.

“This was started before local government reorganisation, before Westmorland and Furness Council was created, and great credit goes to Barrow Borough Council and Cumbria County Council for working together with Cumbria LEP to put in this investment to sort this site out to get it ready and Westmorland and Furness is now getting the benefit of that.”

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of Cumbria LEP, said: “The reason that we wanted to fund this site is we recognise that there is a real need for new housing in Barrow and so the funding we provided has enabled the site to create 200 new homes to meet the needs of local people in Barrow and also people that we want to attract to the area.

“Barrow is on the cusp of a massive opportunity. The Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Homes and Communities described Barrow as the Powerhouse of the North and with the new submarine programme we feel that there is a huge opportunity to bring people to live and work in Barrow. The site at Marina Village is a really big part of that opportunity and opening up news housing development.

“One of the biggest challenges we face is the decline in working age population so we in the LEP have been really committed to securing new homes, which are high-quality but also affordable for everybody. Given that we’re looking at a growth of something like 7,000 new jobs in Barrow, new housing development is absolutely critical and that is why we really wanted to support this site. It is wonderful to see that the enabling work has been completed and hopefully we can very soon see new houses being developed here.”

Local construction specialist Thomas Armstrong Ltd was appointed to carry out the complex work on phase one, which involved the demolition of existing buildings on the former industrial site off Salthouse Road, removing structures below ground level, protecting the existing wall on Salthouse Road, removing asbestos and rubble piles and decontaminating the land. Species such as slow worms and common lizards were also relocated to designated conservation areas prior to the works getting under way.

The work involved the excavation and treatment of the upper 2m of the site.  All obstructions have been removed along with any buried asbestos.  The site was covered by a 1m deep layer of slag, this was removed and crushed on site to be later reused as fill material.  The made ground below the slag was treated using a specialist soil stabilisation process.  This locks the contaminants into the soil making it insoluble and unable to filtrate through to the underlying ground water.  The works were completed without exporting or importing any material to the site, reducing the carbon footprint of the works and limiting the disruption for residents.

Since the completion of phase 1, Homes England has approved a Business Case for £24.8 million of Brownfield, Infrastructure and Land (BIL) funding to finance final preparations for a phase 2, which is a further 19 hectares that would mean the whole Marina Village site would provide 808 new homes, a nature conservation area and new public open spaces. The council’s Cabinet has agreed that the council now negotiate, finalise and enter into the grant funding agreement with Homes England.

Phase two is also part-funded through Brilliant Barrow, an ambitious programme which secured £25 million in regeneration funding from the Government’s Towns Fund for seven ambitious projects. Each one aims to ensure Barrow thrives as a great place to live, work and visit now and into the future.

Watch the Phase 1 Completion video on YouTube for more information and footage of this project

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