BARROW could be transformed into a centre of excellence for industry under proposals to boost the town.

Part of the ‘Brilliant Barrow’ bid for a share of £25m in government cash aims to help the town become a hub of innovation for ‘advanced manufacturing and clean growth’.

A focus on business support is one of seven ideas shortlisted under the #BrilliantBarrow project, which includes other possible ways to boost the town such as a university campus.

Hazel Edwards, the leader of the Conservative group on Barrow Council, would like to see a connection between a manufacturing centre of excellence and a new campus for students.

“I am extremely optimistic about Barrow," said Cllr Edwards.

“We’ve got two large employers in the NHS and BAE and hopefully they will stay and thrive.

“Barrow has obviously got the skills. The university campus and the business hub could be tied together.

“Our industries in Barrow are extremely important. They’re essential to the town.

“I’m optimistic that we can make the town somewhere people will come to and that they’ll stay here.”

Residents are being asked to have their say on proposals before a final bid is formally submitted to the Government.

The goal of the project is ‘To build on our economic strengths, rich industrial heritage, natural beauty and sense of community to develop a town that is economically dynamic and divers’ and make Barrow a ‘place to live, study, work and visit and home to a healthy population that can deliver a prosperous, inclusive and fair future’.

As well as supporting businesses and building the town into a centre of excellence for industry, one of the key goals of the project is said to be boosting Barrow’s high street to make it the heart of a ‘vibrant’ town.

Other schemes aim to shout about the thriving industry in the town, focusing on manufacturers Forth Engineering, Orsted, Scurrah Nassau and Lumier.

Barrow is one of 101 towns selected to bid for £25m in government cash as part of the Town Deal initiative and must make its case to the government soon.

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