Exciting plans to enhance the Square and Parade area of Castletown have moved a step closer with planning permission being obtained for the works.
The scheme will enhance the quality of one of the most visited parts of the Island by providing a flexible area that can adapt quickly to meet the needs of the community.
More public space will be provided for pedestrians and events as part of a scheme which allows parking to be increased or decreased on demand.
Crucially, the proposal will mean that it will not be necessary to close off the entire Square to vehicles during all events. Instead, smaller events will be able to be accommodated by a permanent space adjacent to the Castle and only larger events will require all parking to be suspended.
Castletown Commissioners have already provided additional short stay parking to more than make up for any loss of parking in the Square. To support this, the recently upgraded George Lane now provides an attractive pedestrian link into the Square from the George Paddock parking area.
High quality stone paving, increased seating and low energy lighting will be used to make the most of the historic setting and show off the town's assets.
Richard Ronan MHK, Chairman of Castletown Regeneration Committee commented:
'This is wonderful news for Castletown. The Committee has worked very hard to produce a scheme which brings together the needs of key stakeholders. This has required joined-up working and in some areas compromise but the approved proposals will give Castletown the high quality public realm that its residents, workers and visitors deserve.'
'I was particularly pleased to read the independent planning inspector's conclusions that the "Overall outcome would combine a much improved pedestrian realm across the Market Square and The Parade, while retaining permitted vehicular accessibility to the shopping streets and no less public car parking convenient to the town centre."
The inspector also felt that "The public investment proposed for its key central open areas, especially the Market Place, can be expected to increase footfall and with it economic viability and vitality."'
With planning permission now secured, works could begin early in the New Year, subject to Regeneration funding being approved.