WITH Barrow's high street at a critical stage after a major retailer looks set to close, a crucial meeting is being held in an attempt set out a new and inspired vision for the future.

Nationally many high streets have been impacted by the growing trends in online market places and in these "desperate times" Barrow is among many to suffer, shown recently by M&S's proposed closure.

However, Furness leaders have vowed to come together to help set out a vision for the future of Barrow's Town Centre and on Tuesday 12 February Barrow BID will be holding an open meeting to discuss their vision.

Colin Garnett, BID Manager told the Mail: “Town Centres are suffering throughout the UK as large high street stores face unfair competition from out-of-town retail parks and online shopping sites. Gone are the days of town centres being solely about retail, town centres need to diversify and in some cases shrink their footprint.

"This open meeting enables Barrow BID to discuss our ideas on how we can regenerate Barrow town centre, increase the offer to potential customers and attract more visitors to the town.”

“The open meeting isn’t only about empty shops and attracting retail businesses to the town, we will be discussing, events, urban regeneration and aspirational schemes and initiatives which will help to breathe life back into the town centre. As an isolated community it is important that we engage with local people and the business community and listen to their ideas on how they would improve the town too.”

Barrow MP John Woodcock said: "High street stores and town centres are grappling with very challenging trading conditions and we need to do everything we can to improve the situation for retailers and shoppers.

"We need to make the case that Barrow's best years are ahead of us. Ours is one of the fastest growing economies in Cumbria, there is record investment at the shipyard and we have obtained a promise from the government that it will work with the council to revive the stalled marina village scheme.

"Barrow BID is one organisation that is working hard to improve and adapt the town centre to meet new challenges and this open meeting has my full support. Both Simon Craig and Colin Garnett walked me through the town centre to show me their exciting vision for change. I will be very interested to hear what attendees at the meeting think of their plans."

The leader of Barrow council Dave Pidduck was also keen to show his support and said that in these "desperate times where high streets everywhere are going through tremendous changes and difficulties we are keen to support Barrow BID and we are working with them to secure some key funding from the government's Future High Street Fund."

The meeting will be on Tuesday 12 February from 6pm at The Forum and is an open meeting, so you do not have to be a BID Member or Levy Payer to go.Visit: barrowbid.co.uk to learn more.