THE business man behind the regeneration of Barrow’s Salthouse Mills and College House has hit out at Bill Bryson’s offensive comments about the town.

Guy Davis, who owns and runs Hiltongrove, a development company based in London said he was “offended” by American travel-writer Bryson’s tone when describing the town.

Mr Davis, who has family connections to the area, has written an open letter to the town's residents.

He said: “Dear Barrovians, I am deeply offended at the language used by Bill Bryson to describe Barrow.

“To judge a fine town in the manner that he did, while on a “flying visit”, may help garner free press to push for more book sales, but can do untold long-lasting damage to the reputation of the area.

“Yes, Barrow does have it’s fair share of problems to overcome, but I for one believe in Barrow. I believe in the hard working small businesses that are thriving in our College House Business Centre. I believe in the attitude of the building and construction teams we employ and the efforts of the Council to improve the town for all who live and work there.

“I have invested in Salthouse Mills because I see great opportunities ahead for the area as a whole.

“I will keep banging the drum for Barrow and will continue to use the phrase that the Business of Barrow is Business.”

Bryson said in a recent book that his visit was unmemorable and described one street – believed to be Dalton Road – as like a “prison yard”.

But councillors fiercely defended our “wonderful town” and suggested famous personalities need to stay longer before jumping to conclusions.

Bryson said: “The town centre was clearly not doing well, however, and it most assuredly contained some clusters of young men, some with dangerous-looking dogs, hanging out, drinking tins of beer and looking slightly menacing.

“I think any objective viewer visiting Barrow would say that I had described it pretty fairly, bearing in mind that it was a fleeting visit."

Cllr David Pidduck, leader of Barrow Council, said: “For him to come to Barrow and start talking about prison yards…my advice is don’t come back.”