COMMUNITY leaders have praised the importance of Barrow Market as it celebrates its 50th anniversary in the town.

Barrow Market Hall is home to hundreds of new and independent businesses, offering unique goods and services to discerning customers across the area.

The market is celebrating its golden anniversary - and community leaders have come together to praise the ‘hidden gem’ of the town as it marks its impressive milestone.

Colin Garnett, Barrow BID Manager, said: “Shopping habits have changed dramatically over the last 50 years with a move to pedestrianised shopping streets, out of town retail parks and internet shopping, but one venue has stood the test of time and remained a constant in Barrow town centre.

“Barrow Market Hall celebrates its 50th anniversary this week, which shows how important it is to the local community.

“Market Traders are the backbone of the retail sector, offering specialist advice and guidance as well as products and services at great value.

“Barrow’s Market Hall is a hive of activity where everyone is welcome and the market traders will go that extra mile to make customers happy.

“The relationship between market traders and their customers is vital to the longevity of the Market Hall and this customer loyalty is the main reason that Barrow Market Hall remains as important to Barrow’s retail community today and it did in 1971.

“In the past 12 months Barrow’s high street has been decimated by changing shopping habits and the effects of COVID with the town losing illustrious names such as Debenhams, M&S, River Island and Topshop.

“Barrow Market Hall is going to have an important role to play in the revival of Barrow as a retail destination and will be pivotal in reshaping the way consumers shop.

“The world has woken up to the damaging effects that plastic waste has on the environment and market traders are best placed to adapt and provide products and services their customers demand.

“In other towns and cities Market Halls have become more than a retail experience, they have become the hub for communities and in many cases have become hang out destinations for the ‘hipster’ generation.

“At Barrow BID we congratulate Barrow Market Hall for reaching their milestone anniversary and we look forward to working with the Local Authority and market traders to support and grow Barrow Market Hall for future generations.”

Simon Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness, also welcomed the special anniversary for the market.

He said: “Barrow Market is a hidden gem and the beating heart of the town - full of great stalls run by people who are passionate about what they do.

“Whether you’re shopping for fruit and veg, household essentials, a gift, or just about anything else - you’ll find it there.

“I’m looking forward to signing off Barrow’s Levelling Up fund bid to improve and refresh the market and give it the prominence it deserves in the next few weeks. What better way to celebrate this tremendous community asset than secure its future for the next 50 years?”

Lee Roberts, deputy leader at Barrow Borough Council added: "The market has been a vital part of our town and will be crucial to the future of the town centre recovery as we emerge out of the pandemic.

"I have childhood memories of the roundabout and buying sweets from Ernies and new trainers in the market for school. The market is in all our plans for the future of the town centre and I hope my son grows up with similar memories of the market.

"50 years is a great milestone to celebrate, it is a fantastic place with a real local and community feel. It’s well worth a visit if you don’t already."