A PROGRESS report about Barrow’s Marina Village and business park will be made public in autumn after questions about its future.

The £200 million project has been on the cards for 12 years but remains reliant on significant Government funding, a meeting heard.

Cllr Alan Pemberton questioned the latest state of play at a meeting of the council’s executive.

Cllr Pemberton, the Conservative member for Hawcoat, said: “This has been one of the main projects for the town for many years but it has had funding problems.

“It is still is one of the main projects designed to improve the image of the town, attract more visitors and diversify the economy of the town.

“Where are we with this project and when do we expect it to come to fruition?”

Matthew Park, a planning officer in policy and regeneration, said it had been given greater emphasis in the new industrial strategy published by Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, which would help underpin funding bids.

Cllr Lee Roberts, deputy leader of Barrow Council and a board member of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said its inclusion in the important document helped keep the project remain firmly on the radar for investment.

Council directors also confirmed that ‘discussions are ongoing’ between the council and Homes England. Homes England is responsible for increasing the number of new homes and stimulating local economic growth and attracting private sector investment.

Steve Solsby, an assistant director at the borough council, said: “There are ongoing discussions with Homes England and the officers there. We have been providing them with lots of information over the last 18 months and will wait and see if they can actually take things forward.”

Mr Solsby said the project needed to unlock money from a grant fund called the ‘local authority accelerated construction funding’. The council had been ‘pressing’ Homes England for a decision, he said.

“We are awaiting the outcome of that decision,” said Mr Solsby. “There are a number of things going on nationally which may affect future funding decisions but we believe we have a strong case.”

Mr Solsby said the Marina was dependent on a Marina Link – which would allow pleasure boats into the dock system.

He described this as a very ‘expensive piece of infrastructure’, with Associated British Ports and BAE Systems key partners.

“There’s certainly a lot of work to be done in relation to site investigation and scheme design and so on – that would require a major infrastructure investment to realise the Marina at a future date,” said Mr Solsby.

He said the Marina Village still formed part of the Barrow Port Area Action Plan, which is under review. However, it remains part of the ‘ambition and vision’ for the area, said Mr Solsby.

“There is an intention to bring an update on the Marina Village to the September executive meeting. It would be better to provide a comprehensive report to all members,” he said.

The Marina plans were first mooted by the council alongside the now defunct West Lakes Renaissance and the now-scrapped North West Regional Development Agency.

Originally, it was hoped that as well as a business park, the site would also include 700 luxury homes, a cruise ship terminal, nature reserve, watersports centre and a multi-purpose sports stadium.