REDEVELOPMENT of the Summerland site could mean it’s all change for the Manx Electric Railway’s depot at Derby Castle.
Expressions of interest in the site are now being invited from developers for the seafront site.
Commercial property consultants, Michael Chapman and Company are acting on behalf of the government to sell the site using an informal tender process once the expressions of interest have been received.
Just under three acres are being marketed as a prime development opportunity with the potential for a further 2.66 acres which is currently occupied by the MER’s depot at Derby Castle.
Planning consent was last week granted for an application (12/01359) to extend the Derby Castle depot to provide extra parking and operational facilities on part of the former Summerland site.
But as part of the planning approval, the proposed extension must be removed from the site on or before the end of November 2017 unless the planning authority gives permission for it to stay.
Nick Black, chief executive officer of the Department of Community Culture and Leisure, said any Summerland developer opting to acquire the MER site would have to provide an alternative depot for the trams. He confirmed this could be underneath the development on the Summerland site or at another acceptable location.
He said: ‘The Summerland site in its core form does not include any land used for the MER.
‘The option to acquire the MER site requires the provision of an alternative depot, which could be underneath the development on the Summerland site or other such place that the developer proposes and is acceptable to the department.’
The former Summerland leisure complex was demolished around five years ago.
Previous attempts to redevelop the site have come to nothing. The DCCL advertised in April in 2010 to find a private sector partner.
Only one bid was submitted - a proposal for a four star Holiday Inn destination hotel with conference facilities, a fitness centre and swimming pool, a ten-pin bowling alley and 36 luxury flats.
But that bid was rejected and the DCCL said the government would get a greater return if the land was sold, with a price tag of £5 million. An option to purchase the MER depot was included.
No buyer was found, however.
One stumbling block has been the cost of stabilising the cliff behind the site.