AMBITIOUS plans have been put forward to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds into regenerating some of Barrow’s most iconic buildings.

Barrow Borough Council is set to bid for cash from a £44m funding pot aimed at reviving Britain’s high streets.

Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zones scheme hopes to prop up struggling town centres by preserving the character of dilapidated buildings in conservation areas.

Barrow’s application is for funding to regenerate Duke Street as the town’s Business Improvement District manager Colin Garnett explained.

“The council's application aims to enhance the heritage of the town centre,” he said.

“The heritage of Barrow is incredibly important; we mustn’t forget our past and where we have come from.

“We need to look at utilising buildings which reflect our heritage, like those in strategically significant roads like Duke Street and Abbey Road, wherever possible.”

If Barrow’s bid is successful the project will start in April 2020.

In a letter supporting the council’s plans Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock hailed the application as ‘exciting’.

Mr Woodcock highlighted Barrow’s role in the ‘national endeavour’ of submarine building and backed the council’s bid to ‘revive, challenge and improve perceptions of the town centre’.

“Barrow is steeped in history as one of the towns that expanded from hamlet to industrial powerhouse as part of Victorian Britain’s drive for greatness through continued mastery of the seas,” he wrote.

“Much of the town’s architecture tells the story of this great expansion that was driven by the construction of the steelworks in 1859 and the shipyard in 1871.”

A number of Barrow town centre’s heritage buildings have been given a new lease of life over the years thanks to major investment.

Back in 2006, when the Duke of Edinburgh was bought by Phil Simpson and Matt Jackson, a six-figure match-funded government grant was used to refurbish the hotel’s exterior.

Gawain Steel is operations director at Lucidity Group which has invested millions of pounds into converting the former Boots store into the Townhouse and the Fairway Hotel into the Dunes Hotel.

“Barrow’s heritage is immensely important to the town’s profile and regenerating some of the run-down town centre buildings would be a massive boost to retailers and residents alike,” he said.

“But the owners of some of these iconic buildings; when you consider for instance the situation with the House of Lords which has been untouched and left in limbo since the fire more than two years ago, also need to play their part.

“Improving the aesthetics of the town centre will benefit everyone but when it comes to spending public money the private sector needs to step up too.”