A HISTORIC building transformed into a new arts location for the town has been officially opened.

Barrow mayor Helen Wall opened the newly-renovated Cooke's Studios building in Abbey Road on Thursday.

The building was opened at the launch of West Coast Photo Festival, the largest digital art festival ever to showcase the rugged beauty of Cumbria’s West Coast.

Delivered by Signal Film and Media, this major festival for Cumbria will run over two floors, showcasing a new collection of work focusing on the west coast of Cumbria produced by internationally acclaimed photographers, shown alongside images and films by local artists.

The formerly derelict building, at 102 Abbey Road, has been refurbished by Creative Studios Cumbria, a charity set up by Signal Film and Media founders Kerry Kolbe and Loren Slater to provide affordable, high quality creative spaces for charities and community groups.

Kerry Kolbe said: “We want to make this a warm and friendly place where people can come together to enjoy local creative talent and learn skills themselves, as well as celebrate the heritage and culture of the area. We’re hoping this new space means more people than ever can be creative and have some fun.”

West Coast Photo Festival launched on Thursday and will run until November 7.