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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Community doesn’t back Barrow tenements renovation

A ROW has erupted over a multi-million pound scheme to renovate dilapidated homes.

The government has allocated £3.4m for renovation work to be carried out on the tenement flats on Barrow Island.

The cash, given to Barrow Borough Council from the Homes and Communities Agency, will be used to restore 200 empty flats on Barrow Island.

The money, which has been match funded by three property companies, will be used for properties close to the Devonshire Building and around Schooner Street, Steamer Street and Barque Street.

However, a survey by the Barrow Island Big Lottery steering group, which has been tasked with spending a separate £1m lottery grant to boost the community, has revealed that 88 per cent of people questioned did not want funding to be spent on the flats.

Group chairman, Dave Armistead, said residents did not believe the community would benefit from spending money on “out of date” flats. He said: “Basically, what we have been doing over the last two years is talking with people on the island, doing presentations, visiting the pubs and clubs and dropping leaflets to find out what the people want.

“We have got lots of people’s views and 88 per cent of people have said that they wouldn’t spend any money on the flats.”

Mr Armistead said he believed there would not be a demand for people to move into the flats once the renovations were complete.

He said: “In this day and age people should be able to live in affordable, modern houses. On Barrow Island, the occupancy levels are continually dropping.”

The Clusters of Empty Homes funding would be used to provide loans to allow the programme of refurbishment to be accelerated, with the council stating this would bring properties back into use for let.

Phil Huck, executive director of Barrow Borough Council, said the council would be working closely with residents on the £6.8m revamp.

He said: “The funding we have received is only for renovating the flats, not some other purpose. We have also consistently pointed out that the flats are listed and would be unlikely to get consent for demolition. My view is that the council cannot afford to turn down the £3.4m grant we have been offered as it represents the only opportunity to make significant investment in the flats.”

Have your say

What a joke, forking out money to greedy developers from out of town. They are trying to sell that flats on making a profit. The main buyers are out of towners who have no idea about the area, why would the council align itself with these companies who are ripping investors off I have no idea. Would the money not be better spent on some of the empty houses in Barrow as there are many out there in areas people want to live.

Posted by Anon on 24 December 2012 at 14:32

I would love to know why the community is against plans to rejuvenate these dilapidated buildings which are in bad need of refurbishment and regeneration. Take a walk down Egerton Court (no offence to anyone living there) and you will see how bad things are! These flats are in need of refurbishment and the green spaces improved. It will benefit the whole community of this project goes ahead. Why are people in favour of demolition as Ms Cooper pointed out these are good solid flats and have stood the test of time for many years. I applaud the council for actually investing money on the flats instead of choosing to denolish them. There is no pleasing some people! The community of Barrow Island should get behind this scheme as it will benefit the community.

Posted by Anon on 13 December 2012 at 14:15

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