The New Community Building sub committee of BUSCA has worked tirelessly for the past 10+ years to try to achieve a community building that can be used by all residents at any time of day or evening. Barrow is a large village with a rapidly growing population and its many small halls do not meet with demand.
Very many possible sites have been investigated with the help of experts. By 2015/16 only one site seemed to be a possibility: the picnic field on Fishpool Way, owned by Barrow Parish Council.
In 2016/17 the Parish Council agreed that it would support BUSCA in building a community hub. Further, that it would be prepared to allow BUSCA to take a 99 year lease at a peppercorn rent of the land on Fishpool Way identified as the picnic field. Both of these agreements were subject to a satisfactory feasibility study.
After a huge amount of work developing plans for a community building on the picnic field, a planning application was submitted in 2018. By January 2019, the planning application had not yet been heard.
The Parish Council was challenged at a BUSCA public meeting held in July 2017 and again at the Annual Parish Meeting in April 2018 about the validity of offering a lease of land that is a designated Open Space with a restrictive covenant placed on it. Legal advice from a barrister was obtained by the Parish Council.
As a result of the barrister’s advice, the Parish Council withdrew its offer of the lease. It has however agreed to meet with representatives of BUSCA to discuss how both might work together in the future.
We very much hope that this is beginning of a new chapter that might bear fruit in providing Barrow with a much-needed community building.