A STAUNCH supporter of an £8billion barrage across Morecambe Bay has said negativity should not be allowed to sink the crossing.

Conservative councillor Alan Pemberton issued a rallying cry that the town should fight for the project – despite the huge environmental challenge.

But a Labour councillor warned it could ruin Barrow with people using it to shop or work elsewhere.

Cllr Pemberton believes the Eden Project North planned for Morecambe would put a ready-made supply of visitors on the doorstep who would use the barrage to visit Furness and Millom.

“The Eden Project is going to be a mammoth tourist attraction, there is no doubt about that and this would make a Morecambe Bay crossing a tourist attraction in its own right. What better way to see the beauty of Morecambe Bay than to drive across it?” said Cllr Pemberton.

“We have had a railway viaduct over it for the last 100 years so why can’t we have a modern dual-carriageway producing many climate change benefits for the next 100 years?”

Cllr Pemberton said Barrow Borough Council should make the case for it.

“We must keep putting our case to the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and Government departments. This is the biggest gamechanger for this town, Millom and the west coast that we can have, so let’s not let it slip by without a fight,” said Cllr Pemberton.

Cllr Wendy Maddox, a Labour member for Dalton, said she agreed with some of the points made but not all. 

“I don’t think it will do any good for Barrow. If people can go across a bridge and get to Morecambe and Lancaster much quicker, I think that could kill Barrow,” said Cllr Maddox.

Cllr Pemberton replied that it was a ‘negative approach’.

Sam Plum, chief executive of the council, said the issue would be further explored in future. The council’s five-year plan for the borough and what its priorities should be is going before the full chamber in January 2020.

Those behind the bay bridge promise the annual production of more than 8 million megawatt-hours of electricity – enough to provide two per cent of the nation’s energy needs. 

It would also reduce journey times between Lancashire and South Cumbria, opening up Furness and West Cumbria to tourism and creating more than 10,000 jobs from Fylde to Workington, supporters say.

* The original version of this article quoted Cllr Beverly Morgan instead of Cllr Wendy Maddox. This has now been corrected.