Barrow Labor Party HQ announces plans to move into former BBC Radio site

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Labor party headquarters in Barrow are considering relocating after concerns over their current site showing ‘shortcomings’.

An application has been submitted to Barrow Borough Council to convert the current head office on Hartington Street to residential use.

Plans included in the proposal reveal that the party is in the process of purchasing the former BBC Radio Cumbria building – also based in Hartington Street – which was put on the market earlier this year.

BBC Radio Cumbria has announced plans to close its Barrow and Kendal offices in 2020, citing the closure to “significant financial pressures”.

A spokesperson for the Labor Party in Barrow and Furness constituency said their goal was to have a place as accessible as possible to the community.

He said: “It is no secret that our Hartington Street premises are for sale and that we are looking for a new center to continue our ongoing work in the community.

“We have won many elections from our Hartington Street headquarters over the years and are looking for a new base to continue to do so.

“Our goal is to have a building in a location and conditions accessible to as many of our community as possible.

“The Labor Party and Furness have a special relationship and this is something we want to build on as we look to the future.”

According to plans, the local Labor Party had occupied the Hartington Street site for a number of years and it was “perfectly adequate” for general party needs at the time of the purchase.

However, the design and access statement reveals that the site is currently not an inclusive building for visitors with disabilities.

He said: “It was recognized that the party headquarters, although located in the city center providing a convenient tour for voters and other visitors due to good transport links, had shortcomings.

“These, spread over two floors and therefore restrictive for visitors with disabilities, did not provide an inclusive building for all visitors.

“The availability of the recently vacated BBC Radio building in the same location offers the possibility of providing this all inclusive property with all facilities located on the ground floor.

“The committee is now in the process of purchasing the BBC building and the change-of-use request is in anticipation of a positive outcome of the negotiations with the money from the sale providing funds for the purchase.”

The party HQ has not employed any paid staff since 2018 and is run entirely by volunteers.

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