FUNDS spent on the town centre could be used better elsewhere; after a large regeneration project was announced in Barrow.

The market hall and The Forum theatre are among the locations set to benefit from a total of £41 million in government funding.

Leader of the borough council Ann Thomson said it was 'rare' for 'schemes of this magnitude to come along at once' and that the projects represented a 'huge opportunity'.

The £41 million is split into two portions - £16 million from the Government's Levelling Up Fund and £25 million from its Towns Fund.

However, many were sceptical that the best usage of incoming funds was on the town centre.

Paul Carroll said: "Covering Portland Walk and enticing business would be better, reduced rates are better than no rates from boarded up shops."

ScottChegg. said: "Still not a lot of beneficial use and longevity. Genuinely how many people under even 60 want a new market? Get with the times, markets have died."


"I would hate to see this be a waste of taxpayer's money, especially at a time like this. I've little belief it's wanted or needed, perhaps I can be proven wrong!"

However, others were in support of the market regeneration project.

Publicists said: "With the rising energy costs, markets might be the way forward. Stalls cheap to hire very limited overheads how long before the markets become the place to shop as the supermarkets struggle with rising energy costs to keep large supermarkets open?"

Some had completely new ideas about how to bring people into the town.

Barrow Lad said: "Our biggest asset is the coast. Forget the town centre, develop Biggar Bank and get the tourist dollars."

The work is also to see a shared entrance created for the market hall and The Forum theatre.

The £25 million will be the basis of the #BrilliantBarrow project, which is to see The Dock Museum and the area to the rear of Barrow Market overhauled to support a new events and entertainment programme.

A network of community hubs is also to be created to provide 'a home for activities and services for people in all stages of life'.