Planning application submitted for ambitious #BrilliantBarrow outdoor centre

Cumbria County Council has submitted a planning application for a multi-million-pound outdoor community and environmental education centre which forms part of the ambitious #BrilliantBarrow programme.

The move marks a milestone in the ongoing development of the centre which forms part of the #BrilliantBarrow Community Hubs project and is proposed for a site owned by Cumbria County Council in Earnse Bay, on Walney Island.

Submission of the application follows significant development work with Cumbria County Council, Barrow Borough Council and #BrilliantBarrow and hundreds of hours of formal and informal consultation with the community.

The plans illustrate the vision for the project which consists of a new outdoor activity centre and an outdoor educational facility together with the creation of an outdoor community space.

It will aim to provide people of all ages with opportunities and access to the outdoors and to education.

The scheme will be funded by £3.1 million from the #BrilliantBarrow Town Deal, which secured £25 million from the Government’s Towns Fund earlier this year. The Earnse Bay project has also received matched funding of £3 million from Natural England.

The site of the proposed centre extends to 3.37 hectares and is bound by West Shore to the west, West Shore Park to the north and east and Cows Tarn Lane to the south. Currently, the site consists of grassland and scrub, with a dilapidated changing room building and some bituminous hardstanding that is no longer in use.

There will be a café and a community shop in the Cumbria County Council Community Centre, access to the village hall and two additional classrooms, as well as outdoor spaces for community growing and reflection.

It is proposed that Natural England’s Centre will include office and workshop space for the North Walney National Nature Reserve’s staff and volunteers, as well as classroom and meeting room facilities.

There will also be parking spaces, including four accessible spaces, two motorbike and six cycle spaces.

The application has been submitted to Barrow Borough Council -the planning authority for the borough – and will now be subject to a statutory consultation period. It can be viewed online using reference number: BSS/2022/0657.

A decision on whether planning permission is granted is due at the end of February 2023.

Align Property Partners acted as planning consultants for the Sports Ground Project.

Please email EarnseBay@cumbria.gov.uk with any questions or queries relating to this project.

Cllr David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member for Economic Development and Property, said:

“I am delighted that Cumbria County Council has been able to submit this planning application.

“The outdoor activity centre and the educational facility will be an asset to the area and will be advantageous for the local community, being a real hub to get together and connect with neighbours and other residents. 

“This is a very exciting project for the area and also for the #BrilliantBarrow project too.  We are delighted to be part of it.

“I would like to thank our officers and partners for all their work, so far, on this project.”

Cllr Derek Brook, Barrow Borough Council’s lead member for Community said: 

“The #BrilliantBarrow Community Hubs project aims to place services and opportunities in the heart of communities so people can access and benefit from them at any stage of their lives.

“It’s wonderful to see it reach such a pivotal stage.

“A huge amount of hard work has gone into getting the scheme to this point and I, along with so many other people, look forward to what’s to come in the future.” 


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