A REGENERATION boss says demand for more Barrow cabbies shows the town is booming.
Bob Pointing, chief executive of West Lakes Renaissance, the company leading the Furness revival, made the claim in its annual review 2007/8.
Mr Pointing says: “A good proxy index of rising economic well-being in Barrow is the recruitment market for taxi drivers.
“In bad times recruitment is very easy; in better times, especially when the shipyard is taking people on, it’s very difficult, I’m told.
“BAE Systems in Barrow has a pretty healthy order book at the moment and for this and other reasons, including our own efforts perhaps, there is a feeling of some optimism in the town and taxi drivers are hard to come by.”
In the review, Mr Pointing also reports on how the £200m docks revamp is progressing. Mr Pointing says: “By November 2008, we will have seven hectares of prime business park – which is only the first phase – ready for the market. We know there is the demand to fill this very quickly. The worry now is that we want to move fast to complete the next phases of the Waterfront Business Park development and put an access road in.
“Otherwise, Barrow will run out of suitable sites again.”
Mr Pointing says the marina village will be even more exciting to look at.
Before the problems in the mortgage market, he said, it attracted 40 developers to Barrow.
“This really gave us the feel of a big city URC (urban regeneration company); 650 new homes, a 350-berth marina, an overland boat lift, a watersports centre, hotels, commercial developments, the lot – the new Barrow, no less,” he said.
“Because we’re not dealing with inflated land values and we have a known demand for new housing, the selection of a suitable developer does not seem to have been adversely affected by wider market conditions.”