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Dark truth of boarded-up Brit seaside town where certain homes ‘could kill you’

3 min read

High streets across the country are in decline, hollowed out by the rise in online shopping and the brutal waves of rolling recessions.

But some towns have been harder-hit than others – such as Barrow-in-Furness, on England’s north-west coast, where entire rows of shops lie empty.

YouTuber David Burnip visited Barrow for his Wandering Turnip channel, to see what remained of a town that once supplied iron and steel across the world.

READ MORE: Inside the UK seaside town where boarded up homes sell for as little as 20k

As well as the gradual decline in British manufacturing, David says, there has been another, much more sudden financial hit.

He revealed: “Post-Covid, there was a 69% increase in people getting Jobseekers allowance and Universal Credit and 13% of children here live in a work-less household.”

The town is ranked fourth on a list of the 317 local authorities suffering most severely from health deprivation.

But “the maddest statistic,” David said, “is that 20% of all privately-owned houses or or privately-rented houses in Barrow have category one health and safety system ratings”.

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What that means, in practical terms, is that they are some of the most dangerous places in the country to live.

Residents are at risk of “serious harm including death, permanent paralysis, loss of consciousness, loss of a limb or a serious fracture…"

David told the Daily Star that “due to not much money, people can’t afford houses themselves so end up renting”.

He added: “I guess that there is a lot of outside landlords who own a lot or property and don’t follow regulations.”

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It's not only dangerous to live in the town but to work there too, with dozens of Barrow workers reporting job-related injuries last year.

The latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive show 75 people suffered injuries at work in Barrow in 2021-22 – up from 58 in the previous year.

As David wanders around the town centre he sees countless shops that have gone out of business, and pubs too.

One sight particularly shocked him: “Look at that,” he says. “A Wetherspoons that’s shut down.

“I've never seen that before … a shut down Wetherspoons. That doesn’t happen!”

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Another familiar high street name catches David’s eye: “You’ve got an empty Shoe Zone there.

“But,” he jokes, “I think in the UK you're never more than five minutes away from an empty shoe zone so that's not unique”.

Another factor that prevents money coming from into the town is its ageing population.

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“What happens is a lot of people leave at 16 or 18 they go to a university town then they don't come back so you're losing workforce,” David explains. “you’re losing a lot of the population to other places”.

But there is some hope, David says: "Barrow has actually secured £16million from the leveling up fund from the government and I think they're using that to do up the market already and other bits and bobs like that.

"It'll be interesting to see where else they spend their money," he adds. I think I read that they're looking for £29 million for loads of different projects… "

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