THERE have been arguments about how best to boost the traditional shopping attractions of Barrow town centre ever since Asda became the first of the supermarkets to open on the edge of town in the 1970s.

While the big shopping sheds offered free parking, the mainly Victorian shops in Dalton Road struggled to get their deliveries up narrow backstreets and faced attempts to restrict, or ban, shoppers from parking outside businesses.

The Mail, on Saturday, March 15 in 1980, noted: "Barrow traders last night hit out against Barrow Council's proposed pedestrianisation of Dalton Road.

"And they said that the reason for the change from the present one-way system to a pedestrian precinct was purely political."

A special meeting of traders decided to write protest letters to Barrow and Cumbria officials - wanting Dalton Road left alone unless it formed part of a comprehensive traffic and parking scheme.

Traders called for multi-storey car parking at Hall Street and rear access for loading and unloading at the back of all the shops and business premises on Dalton Road.

They also wanted to remove traffic from all the side streets linking to Dalton Road and full paving of Dalton Road.

Trader Bill Chambers said: "I can't believe that the money is available.

"I think the reason for all this is just political.

"The people of Barrow like to shop from their cars.

"A lot of people from other areas have been educated not to shop from their cars but this is in cities where they have a large number of tourists."

Another trader, Peter Wells, said: "There is no way I could cope with a piecemeal foot street.

"It would have to have adequate multi-storey car parking facilities in close proximity to Dalton Road."

The pedestrianisation eventually went ahead in stages and extra parking spaces were provided – at a price.

Removing the vehicles did allow Dalton Road to host a wide variety of public entertainment and other fun events designed to attract shoppers into the town Centre.

Last year they included the Barrow Super Soapbox Challenge and the Barrow Festival of Transport featuring vintage bus, car and motorcycle displays.

Both are due to make a return this year - on May 24 and July 11 respectively.