Barrow's landmark Marina Village could be put at risk unless the Government gives a funding decision this month, a meeting has heard.

Barrow Town Hall bosses have been left sweating over a multi-million-pound bid to kick start the 24-hectare docklands regeneration scheme.

Homes England has yet to give the nod to a crucial first phase which would enable around 450 homes across a 12-hectare site.

A positive decision would help lure other developers on board for other elements of the project, which spans a brownfield area between the Cavendish and Buccleuch docks.

Council regeneration directors pledged at a meeting yesterday that the authority is as ‘close as it has ever been’ and are confident that their bid meets the funding criteria.

In the town hall yesterday, councillors agreed to move a step ahead by committing £650,000 to its capital budget towards major costs involved in preparing the former brownfield site for imminent development.

Steve Solsby, an assistant director, updated the council’s cross-party executive, but emphasised that ‘nothing was set in stone’.

Mr Solsby said: “We are as close as we have been.  The longer they take, the slower the timetable. We have been working with Homes England for up to 18 months now. I have been on the phone to them again today chasing them up.

“I believe we are very close to a decision. I have stressed to them the programme is very tight and that work needs doing. We probably need to commission further technical works this month, therefore we do need a decision from Homes England, I believe, this month.”

The deadline is pressing because money needs to be committed for homes to be built before 2021.

Council executive director Sam Plum said the council now needed a green light.

Councillor Alan Pemberton said the scheme must include a marina as nothing else would draw people here from outside.

Coun Pemberton said: “The marina with yachts, a seafront, cafes and shops, would help alter the whole image of the town.”

Barrow mayor Kevin Hamilton praised the work that had been done by the council so far.

Phases to follow include a possible waterside hotel and ‘mixed-use’ development.

Mr Solsby also revealed that the project’s name may yet become known as the Salthouse Sands development in a nod to the historic name of the area