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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

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Barrow Borough Council given £3.4m to put properties into use

HUNDREDS of empty flats will be brought back into use after Barrow was granted a multi-million pound housing fund.

NEW LEASE OF LIFE: Flats in areas such as Barque Street, on Barrow Island, will be refurbished for the rental market

Barrow Borough Council has been handed £3.4m by the government to bring empty houses back into use.

The cash will be used to bring 200 empty flats on Barrow Island back to the rental market.

Councillor Dave Pidduck, leader of the council, said the announcement was further good news for the area only a matter of days after the Diocese of Carlisle was promised money to rebuild St James’ School in Barrow.

He told the Evening Mail: “This money will be used to work with private landlords on Barrow Island who own around 200 empty flats that can hopefully be done up to put them in a position for people to come and rent.

“It is a big boost for the area. Since yesterday, we have been delighted to learn that we have had an offer for £5m which is a nice boost for the town.

“The £1.6m for St James’ School and now £3.4m for Barrow Island will benefit regeneration in Barrow.

“Anything we do on Barrow Island is again linked into the marina development because the Barrow Island side would be the industrial part of that project.

“The borough council will soon be responsible for this part of the project and this is really good news for Barrow.”

Phil Huck, the council’s director of regeneration and community services, who will take over from chief executive Tom Campbell at the end of next month, said the money would be used for properties close to the Devonshire Building and around Schooner Street, Steamer Street and Barque Street.

He said: “It is very welcome news and something we have been wondering what to do with for a number of years.

“We applied to the Homes and Communities Agency and clearly they have agreed it is a priority.”

The project is set to take several years to complete and will be aimed at bringing more affordable rental properties to the borough.

There are around 1,700 applicants from the Barrow area who are waiting for houses from the Cumbria Choice Lettings Scheme, which handles social housing in the borough.

Councillor Allison Johnston said the news was welcome and, along with the £1m being spent as part of the National Lottery’s Big Local Trust, would help bring more community spirit to the island.

She said: “I think any money that goes into these flats is badly needed to bring them back in line with the other properties on the island.”

Long term empty homes are classed as unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for more than six months.

According to latest figures there are 737 empty properties in Barrow, 801 in Copeland, and 1,044 in South Lakeland.

Communities minister Andrew Stunell said: “The number of empty homes in this country is a national disgrace.

“For every two families that need a home there is one standing empty.

“Empty homes bring down a neighbourhood and attract vandals and fly-tipping, as well as being a waste of much needed housing.”

Have your say

Lets hope the cash is spent wisely and is made available for the benefit of all the people of Barrow i.e using local tradesman and local companies. However i can see it turning into a gravy train for outside firms to come in make a fast buck and leave things looking much the same as before. Mark my words I will be the first one to ask to look at the books under a freedom of information request. Barrow Council the eyes are on you!!!!!

Posted by flotsam369 on 31 May 2012 at 12:18

As a Barrow Island (House) resident I am delighted to see more money being spent on the flats in this area.........however,
£5,000 x 200 = £1,000,000 (one million)

Do they actually intend on spending 17,000 per flat ?
£17,000 x 200 = £3,400,000

Something is wrong if some thinks they need to spend £17k on each flat, I suspect someone is trying to get rich of this, I just don't by it; £17k per flat.......you should be able to "BUY" the flat for £17k not just renovate it !!


Posted by S G Williams BEng(hons) on 30 May 2012 at 22:04

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