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Proposed Island Infrastructure Scheme aims to stimulate private brownfield development

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

A new multi-million pound Island Infrastructure Scheme is being proposed to Tynwald at the December sitting, designed to stimulate and accelerate the development of privately owned and unoccupied brownfield sites.

Members will be asked to approve the Scheme, which will be administered by the Department for Enterprise, to encourage the development of brownfield sites which are included on the Unoccupied Urban Sites Register.

The overarching aim of the Island Infrastructure Scheme is to deliver national economic and social value to unoccupied urban sites, by providing financial support to developers to offset the additional costs faced when redeveloping sites of this nature.

The Island Infrastructure Scheme was initially proposed in line with the Built Environment Reform Programme, which made a commitment for the Department for Enterprise to prepare further grant support for Unoccupied Urban Sites to be redeveloped for residential, retail, leisure, commercial or mixed-use purposes.

Lawrie Hooper MHK, Minister for Enterprise, commented:

‘Dialogue with developers indicates that there are a number of barriers to brownfield site development, particularly regarding increased costs associated with issues such as contaminated land, previously developed buildings and broader site preparation.

‘The historic lack of activity on many of these sites is clearly influenced by the simple fact that the commercial viability simply isn’t there without some additional assistance. By providing a level of assistance to help make the proposals viable, the Department aims to secure substantial private sector investment and regeneration, with an overall value to the economy significantly in excess of any grants offered, and importantly to do so in a timely manner for the benefit of the whole community.’

‘In the current climate, and with bold ambitions outlined in the Economic Strategy, incentivising developers through the Island Infrastructure Scheme will help to transform existing fallow sites into buildings which contribute to the economic growth, prosperity, vibrancy and sustainability of the Island.’

If approved, the Island Infrastructure Scheme may provide financial assistance of up to 25% of eligible expenditure to developers, by way of a grant and/or loan towards development projects.

The Scheme, if approved, would include £10m of initial funding from the Economic Strategy Fund, with the first round of applications, proposed to run from 3 January to 1 April 2023 prioritised and awarded on an assessment criteria to maximise economic outcomes and positive and accelerated regeneration. It will also be assessed based on the level of private sector leverage proposed, in line with the Economic Strategy’s specific objective to leverage private sector skills and investment.

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