MAJOR repairs are needed to fix a leaking car park in Barrow which looks set to cost Barrow council more than £400,000.

A £431,000 programme of works at the Portland Walk multi-storey is expected to be agreed at a meeting in the town hall today.

Last August, Barrow Borough Council was served with an extensive 18-point repair notice to stop the roof leaking into shops and to clear ‘plant growth, rubbish, debris and graffiti,’ a report said.

The council owns the majority of the car park but leases some of it on a cheap peppercorn rent from London-based Structadene Ltd. The deal leaves the council liable for repairs to the access ramp and Level A – for Debenhams.

The issue has come to the fore as the clock is ticking on the council’s 25-year lease.

Signed back in 1996 – a year before Debenhams opened – the agreement is due to expire in December 2021.

It obliges the council to return the car park and ramp to ‘good repair’ before the lease ends.

Council officials said the cash for the works would initially come from its reserves but then be factored into its capital programme which meets the costs of ‘asset renewals and planned maintenance’.

Asked whether the works should have been carried out earlier, a council spokesman said that the correct time for the job was summer, not winter.

Since the issues were raised, the council has appointed consultant engineers to carry out surveys and draw up a tender for the works.

At today’s meeting, Worcester-based contractor Volkerlaser is expected to be awarded the contract after tabling the lowest tender of five companies who put in for the work.

Papers to go before the council’s 12-member executive committee explain that the council has opted to take a more ‘long lasting’ approach to the works required following official advice.

The report said: “Structadene have been kept informed of progress and are happy in principle with the proposed course of action.”

A council spokesman said it was always anticipated that improvements would be required to the car park before the end of the lease.

Weather permitting, the works are due to last eight weeks from August 5 to September 27, although the dates need to be agreed with the contractor.

A council spokesman said a start on the initial works raised last August had already been made.