Plan submitted to convert station into offices

Port St Mary railway station and former gas works

Port St Mary railway station and former gas works

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The attractive Victorian railway station building and goods shed at Port St Mary could be in line for conversion to offices.

The plan (16/00535/B) is by Haven Homes, which already has permission to build 20 houses on the nearby old gas works site.

This is the latest in a series of applications submitted since the building – which dates back to 1898 – was vacated several years ago.

One plan was for conversion to apartments in 2007, another in 2011 was for conversion to holiday letting units, both were passed but not executed.

The building had roof repairs done by the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure in 2011. Two years later, the building was put up for sale for £395,000.

Chocolatier Cocoa Red hoped to run a chocolate factory at the 19th century building, but they were outbid by a firm of accountants – which hoped to employ 12 to 15 people. Their plan was turned down after the independent inspector recommended it be refused because parking was inadequate.

Details of the Haven Homes plan were submitted on their behalf by Hugh Logan Architects and they argued alternative use is needed to secure the buildings’ future.

They said their architects had considered documentary evidence to generate a proposal ‘that is sympathetic to the history of the buildings’.

The proposal involves re-establishing and enhancing the external aesthetic quality of the building, removing the modern brick lean-to at the east elevation and other ‘jarring’ elements which were added in 1979, and restoring and reopening boarded up windows. A glazed lobby would be introduced at a new approach at the south elevation. A first floor terrace would also be introduced. The plans included a wheelchair accessible toilet for passengers using the railway.

The goods shed would get a mezzanine floor and its large doors would be converted to windows.

A total of 26 parking spaces are proposed clustered around and between the buildings. Spaces would be retained for railway users.

Last year, the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters’ Association applied for the goods shed, which dates back to 1902, to be registered as it is an important piece of Manx railway heritage.

In response to this plan, the association said the shed should remain in government/railway ownership because in addition to being of heritage value, it is also a useful storage asset for today’s railway and stores various railway items. Indeed, the association said: ‘Too much of our railway heritage has been lost over the years, especially since the government took ownership in 1978.’

Port St Mary Commissioners will consider it at their next meeting, on June 15.

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