The Department of Infrastructure is bringing forward fresh plans to reconstruct the failing highway on Douglas Promenade.
The announcement follows the decision by the Council of Ministers to uphold the recommendation of the independent planning inspector to refuse the Department’s preferred redevelopment scheme.
The new plans will focus on the highway refurbishment element of the original proposal. The first application, which will be submitted as soon as possible, will feature work to improve the section of road between the Sea Terminal and Villa Marina Colonnade.
This scheme will not include any provision for horse tram tracks, either in the carriageway or on the Loch Promenade Walkway. If the long-term future of the horse trams is secured, the intention is for the service to terminate opposite the Villa Marina Colonnade.
Approval will then be sought for a second phase of highway reconstruction from the Villa Marina Colonnade to just past the Summerhill junction at the northern end of the Promenade.
A separate planning application will also be submitted to create a tram corridor from Strathallan Crescent to the War Memorial in line with the Department’s preferred location, but with amendments to resolve the concerns raised by the independent planning inspector.
Further consideration will be given to joining the new track to the Manx Electric Railway. This proposal, if taken forward, will be the subject of detailed assessment and become a project in its own right.
The Department is currently in discussion with other interested parties about preserving the horse trams following Douglas Corporation’s decision to end the service.
Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said:
‘While I respect the decision to support the recommendation of the independent planning inspector, I feel an opportunity has been missed to do something bold and inspiring. I believe the Department designed the best possible scheme for Douglas Promenade, one that would have served the best interests of the Isle of Man, its economy and its people for the next 50 years. The Department felt the horse trams could operate safely at the side of a widened walkway, but the planning inspector was persuaded by concerns raised at the public inquiry.’
‘There were no issues with the highway element of the scheme, so the Department is returning at the earliest opportunity with new planning applications to reconstruct the carriageway. The time, effort and funding invested in preparing the Department’s original redevelopment scheme will not be wasted. While the revised proposals will not deliver the full range of social and economic benefits our preferred design would have done, they will complete the regeneration works at least as far as the proposed Cultural Quarter and will address the highway failure along that section of the Promenade.’