Big plans for former open air pool eyesore

BIG PLANS: Steve Bradshaw

BIG PLANS: Steve Bradshaw

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AMBITIOUS plans to create a small boat haven with hotel accommodation, café and shop at the dilapidated former swimming baths at Traie Meanagh in Port Erin are being unveiled by owner Steve Bradshaw.

The small boat haven would be enclosed by a gate to hold the water, giving it almost 24–hour access, depending on the tides, for shallow draft boats and RIBS (rigid inflatable boats). The former pool would be used as a diving centre for training and other activities.

The site might also be a base for training by the RNLI in challenging conditions, giving it all-year round use, and discussions about this are taking place.

An 18-bedroom hotel of a ‘contemporary’ design will also be built on the site to accommodate those taking part in training sessions and visiting yachtsmen and women and for the hotel manager.

A shop and café/restaurant will also be built there.

The site can be accessed by foot by those walking the coastal footpath, but the main access will be using a water taxi from the harbour in Port Erin.

A planning application should be submitted by the end of March said architect Hugh Logan, and then drawings of the proposed scheme will be made public.

Its construction in such an exposed site at the bottom of a cliff will be ‘an interesting challenge, quite exciting,’ said Mr Logan.

‘We are aiming to construct it out of small parts, it needs to be partially prefabricated,’ Mr Logan added.

‘Once the improvement works on the harbour itself are finished it can be created quickly. The parts can be craned in from the road on the landward side, it’s fairly straightforward, the crane reaches over and drops it down.’

Mr Logan continued: ‘If everything went according to plan we could be looking at something being up and running in two years’ time.’

The developer has declined to comment on the possible cost of the scheme.

The idea of having a harbour for small boats is ‘not new’ he said and was raised, and well received, at the South West Regeneration exhibitions, held last December and January in Port St Mary and Port Erin.

The unsightly state of the pool has provoked numerous complaints over many years and Port Erin Commissioners have battled since 1990 to get action taken to tidy up the site. The former swimming pool, owned by the commissioners, was leased to Clearwater International Aquaculture, who ran it as a fish farm and then bought it.

The company then sold it to Chattens Ltd, which is owned by Mr Bradshaw.

Last month, a letter calling for action from resident Charles Faragher over the pool, which he described as a ‘significant blemish’, prompted the local authority to contact environmental health officers to look at it again. Rushen MHK Juan Watterson raised the issue in the House of Keys last week.

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne said plans for redevelopment were imminent. The MHKs, plus the third Rushen MHK Quintin Gill, met Mr Bradshaw and Mr Logan last Friday.

Mr Gawne said: ‘My view is we need to get something for the site, any redevelopment that is appropriate would be welcomed.

‘I cannot go into any more details than that. Redevelopment is something we need to do.’

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