Tynwald will get final say on Nunnery ICT venture

The Nunnery, Douglas

The Nunnery, Douglas

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Tynwald will have the final say on proposals to convert the Nunnery into a centre of IT excellence.

Chief Minister Allan Bell gave the assurance after the Council of Ministers was given an update by directors of the Manx Educational Foundation on the plans for an International Centre of Excellence.

MEF has now raised £12.5m in external funding needed as a condition to buy the Nunnery for £5m.

Mr Bell told the Examiner: ‘CoMin agreed in principle to support the scheme subject to the funding being in place.

‘We had an update from MEF a couple of weeks ago. They have now got all the funding they need and the final plans are being put together. It does seem to be taking shape at last.

‘No final decision has been made. But when CoMin make a decision it will go to Tynwald for approval to have the final say.

‘This is not just out of respect to Tynwald but to give MEF the assurance that they have Tynwald backing.’

In Tynwald last month the Chief Minister defended the decision by the CoMin to grant MEF an exclusivity deal on the sale of the government-owned building.

He said MEF had indicated it required the exclusivity agreement in order to secure the private finance necessary for this project.

‘CoMin was satisfied the decision last year to enter into the exclusivity agreement with the MEF was the right one,’ he told members.

Former Economic Development Minister John Shimmin, who quit the cabinet over the Sefton loans affair, has warned the plan could be jeopardised if left to the autumn.

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