A Freedom of Information request has revealed 85 high-risk asbestos item ratings at Barrow Market.

Traders are set to relocate to a temporary location following asbestos concerns raised by businesses.

The new market will be created in two substantial vacant units near The Mall facing onto Dalton Road.

Traders were given the opportunity to relocate to the newly-refurbished area of the market. Any traders that did not wish to be relocated are set to be compensated.

The regeneration works are part of a £17.5 million Levelling Up Fund scheme to 'reinvigorate the building'.

A survey was undertaken to locate the presence, extent and condition of samples suspected asbestos-containing materials as they are encountered.

The survey was carried out by environmental health services Lucion Services on four occasions in July 2022, twice in August 2022 and once in January 2023.

It was conducted in accordance with Health and Safety Guidance.

Asbestos risk ratings:

R1 - Immediate implementation

R2 - As soon as practicable 

R3 - Not immediately necessary

A breakdown of the survey records:

Total number of records = 1349

Sampled Records = 138

No Asbestos Detected = 65

R3 found = 79 

R2 found = 53

R1 found = 85 

No access locations  = 2

The results conclude that 85 R1-rated levels, the highest risk level, were found.

On level 0, 23 samples were found to contain asbestos-containing materials on both levels of the Mall, with four in the Market Hall, three in the upper sections of the Meat Hall and 11 found on level one in the Market Store.

The rest of the red areas were located in various areas such as toilets, stairwells, a kiosk, fire shutters and refuse, cleaners and trolley stores.

The types of asbestos that were found were Amosite and Chrysotile. Crocidolite is considered the most dangerous, which was not found.

However, while the others are not considered as dangerous, they are still classified as a carcinogen.

The Mail: An impression of the new Barrow Market Hall and Forum

Westmorland and Furness Council has assured the public and traders that they are not at risk.

A Westmorland and Furness Council spokesman said: “A contractor is now in place to help us remove asbestos from Barrow Market as part of the wider regeneration works.

"Removal is scheduled to start this month and is due to be completed in the summer. This is part of the scheduled works but the asbestos does need to be removed in order to continue with the modernisation of the building.

"There is no risk to the public or market traders. The council undertook an in-depth review of the risks associated with undertaking the asbestos removal and precautions have been taken including the relocation of traders to the newly-refurbished area of the market while works are carried out.

"20 traders have taken up the council’s offer to relocate while works are ongoing, where they can continue to provide the same great service while still being in an easily accessible location.

"The regeneration works are part of a £17.5 million Levelling Up Fund scheme to reinvigorate the building and the public realm that surrounds it to attract more people into the town centre, bringing the community together and boosting the local economy."