LIKE many other areas, Barrow faces a real chicken and egg situation.

All the official forecasts suggest the town’s population will continue to shrink, particularly in the working age category. At the same time, the number of so-called ‘super-ageing’ will continue to rise – leading to higher demand for certain services. Just last week, there were warnings that Barrow is struggling to lure people to professions such as social workers or hospital staff.

And you only need to look at the A590 to see the number of external shipyard contractors making the commute. Many will not be tempted to dip into house-buying if their roots are not here and their working arrangements are cyclical.

Despite Barrow having a plethora of vacant properties – put at around 1,500 – it appears these are not enough to lure people here to occupy the posts that need filling. That is why we have seen large-scale housing schemes coming forward. Attitudes have changed and so have expectations.

Many career-minded younger generations want a home, a garage, more space and gardens etc. But without the houses and services, you won’t get the people, and if you don’t get the people you won’t get the employers or the jobs. The next decade is going to be very interesting in determining the course of Barrow’s long term future.