BAE Systems has completed the purchase of a number of properties within Barrow-in-Furness town centre to support future growth plans. All of the properties, located in Portland Walk, are former retail outlets which require extensive refurbishment and renovation to convert them into a modern multi-use facility.
This will build upon the extensive vocational training and community investment provided by BAE Systems in the town.
Steve Timms, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Submarines business, said: “For more than 150 years our shipyard and the local community have worked side-by-side to support each other and this investment is a demonstration of our ongoing commitment to develop and champion the town.
“We already have a workforce of more than 11,000 people, the majority of whom are based in Barrow. With that number set to grow, including a significant increase in graduates and apprentices, these new facilities will play an integral role in ensuring we have the right skills and capabilities.
“The Portland Walk facility will make a significant contribution to the ongoing regeneration of Barrow’s town centre and we will work closely with the local authorities throughout the project.”
Dr Tim Sheldon, Director of Submarines Acquisition at the Ministry of Defence, added: “I really welcome this important addition to the BAE Systems’ Barrow site infrastructure. Not only will this investment support the continued development of BAE Systems as our strategic partner for nuclear submarine design and build, it will also support the economic redevelopment of the town at a critical time.”
Councillor Ann Thomson, the Leader of Barrow Borough Council, also said: “This news is to be warmly welcomed and I’m thankful to everyone involved in making it happen.
“Barrow’s town centre has lots of potential but we know it must be regenerated so that it meets the needs of today and the next generation. As a council, we are already working on a major scheme to create a new destination in the centre of the town that will draw people in to enjoy food, experiences and shopping.
“BAE Systems’ vision for the former retail properties will help to inject additional and much needed activity and vibrancy to Portland Walk and the surrounding area which could in turn help to attract and support further businesses and retail. The future for Barrow’s town centre is looking bright indeed and we are excited to see it move forward.”
The BAE Systems employees in Barrow are currently building Astute and Dreadnought submarines for the Royal Navy, as well as providing in-service support. Work is ongoing on early design activities for a replacement for the Astute class, known as the Submersible Ship Nuclear Replacement (SSNR). More than £1 billion has been invested in technology and infrastructure at the Barrow shipyard to support the delivery of these programmes.
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