Nunnery ICT plan will be realised, insists Minister

Nunnery, Douglas

Nunnery, Douglas

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Economic Development Minister John Shimmin says he is confident that plans to develop the Nunnery as an IT centre of excellence will be realised.

His comments came as it was announced that the Council of Ministers (CoMin) has agreed to give the Manx Educational Foundation (MEF) another three months to raise the money it needs to buy the Nunnery site.

The charity has to secure external investment of £12.5m as one of the conditions for the purchase of the Nunnery site from government.

Originally it had until the end of January to do this but then the deadline was extended to March 31. Now CoMin has agreed a further extension to June 30.

It is understood the MEF has raised £9m of the required £12.5m from private sources both in the island and internationally.

In a statement, the Department of Economic Development said the three-month extension had been agreed as a result of ‘substantial progress’ made by the Foundation in its proposals to develop the International Centre for Technology.

Minister Shimmin said: ‘I’m delighted to announce that CoMin has agreed a three month extension to the exclusivity arrangement with the MEF for the purchase of the Nunnery site.

‘This scheme is now progressing at such a significant rate that I am now confident the scheme will be realised and the many benefits can be achieved. This extension allows a little more time for the MEF to finalise its fundraising efforts. As a result, it is expected MEF will shortly be submitting plans which will allow everyone to see how this ambitious project will be implemented.

‘The MEF is a social enterprise supported by many leading local firms, several very generous individuals and also foreign investment funding from China. This project offers all the ingredients we are looking for to help establish the Isle of Man’s “Tech Isle” strategy.’

Kurt Roosen, co-founder and executive director of the MEF said: ‘We have made substantial progress since we obtained our period of exclusivity last October. We are particularly pleased with the level of support developing locally alongside our investments from China and the UK.’

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