As former parish priest of Barrow I was interested to read the latest headlines in The Mail from my home in Newcastle 'We must improve street cleanliness'.

I have been following with interest over the last few years the debate and discussions and negative headlines concerning the amount of litter which continues to be a huge issue in my former town.

On my last visit to the town in 2017 I was shocked and horrified at the degradation of the town centre that had become one huge rubbish tip.

I raised my concerns about the state Barrow has been allowed to get in with some local people at the time.

They agreed that Barrow is becoming an unkempt, dirty place to live and shop. Most people I spoke to blame the cutbacks to public services.

As much as I (and I am sure the residents of Barrow) welcome the new four year work programme put forward by Barrow Council to tidy up the town, I am surprised after all the campaigning over the last few years that it's taken so long to get to the point where action is now being taken.

It was July 2017 when I raised the issue of the amount of litter on the streets of Barrow and bins over spilling and weeds growing out of cracked pavements, the same year that the council outsourced its refuse recycling and street cleaning role to FFC Environment.

It begs the question have they done their job if the issue of litter refuse and street cleaning is still a huge issue in the town?

Barrow has changed in many ways in terms of the new developments and new initiatives and it was lovely to read of the recent success of the Soapbox challenge.

As a former resident of Barrow I want to continue to be proud of my town and promote it, so I welcome the council's commitment to clean up the streets.

Father Mark A Edwards MBE

Former Curate and Priest of Barrow-in-Furness


Newcastle Upon Tyne