A prime town centre location in Barrow is now ready to develop into the site of 'high-quality' homes.

Phase one of a project to clear and remediate the first six hectares of the Marina Village site got underway last year.

It was made possible by £5.5 million funding provided by Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership from the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

This funding was used by Westmorland and Furness Council to prepare the first six hectares of the site, which will ultimately support the delivery of 214 housing units.

Positioned near to BAE Systems and a proposed University Campus, Marina Village will eventually provide 808 new homes, a nature conservation area and new public open spaces scattered throughout.

The Mail: Key stakeholders at the Marina Villlage siteKey stakeholders at the Marina Villlage site (Image: Westmorland and Furness council)

Phase two of the project, with a business case backed by £24.8 million of Brownfield, Infrastructure and Land (BIL) funding from Homes England, is expected to develop a further 19 hectares of the site.

Cllr Judith Derbyshire, cabinet member for housing and homelessness at the council, said: "We've got so many jobs coming into the area at BAE, Spirit Energy and others so we need to provide the houses for the future, for the future workforce but also for those people in the area needing housing, so this former industrial site has been renewed and decontaminated to be able to allow it to be used for housing in the future.

"This was started before local government reorganisation, before Westmorland and Furness Council was created, and great credit goes to Barrow Borough Council and Cumbria County Council for working together with Cumbria LEP to put in this investment to sort this site out to get it ready and Westmorland and Furness is now getting the benefit of that."

Local construction specialist Thomas Armstrong Ltd was appointed to carry out the complex work on phase one, which involved the demolition of existing buildings on the former industrial site off Salthouse Road, removing structures below ground level, protecting the existing wall on Salthouse Road, removing asbestos and rubble piles and decontaminating the land. Species such as slow worms and common lizards were also relocated to designated conservation areas prior to the works getting underway.

The work involved the excavation and treatment of the upper 2m of the site.  All obstructions have been removed along with any buried asbestos. 

The site was covered by a 1m deep layer of slag, this was removed and crushed on site to be later reused as fill material.  The made ground below the slag was treated using a specialist soil stabilisation process.  This locks the contaminants into the soil making it insoluble and unable to filtrate through to the underlying ground water.  The works were completed without exporting or importing any material to the site, reducing the carbon footprint of the works and limiting the disruption for residents.

Jo Lappin, chief executive of Cumbria LEP, said: "The reason that we wanted to fund this site is we recognize that there is a real need for new housing in Barrow and so the funding we provided has enabled the site to create 200 new homes to meet the needs of local people in Barrow and also people that we want to attract to the area.

"Barrow is on the cusp of a massive opportunity."

Part of the ambitious Brilliant Barrow programme, which secured £25 million in regeneration funding from the Government’s Towns Fund, phases one and two of Marina Village aim to help Barrow thrive as a welcoming and liveable space for residents now and in the future.