Broadcasting House can be extended, planners say

The Manx Radio building, Douglas Head

The Manx Radio building, Douglas Head

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Plans to extend Broadcasting House on Douglas Head have been approved, despite planners’ reservations about the design.

Manx Radio has been given approval (16/00105/B) for an extension, which includes three studios and even a green room

on the second floor, together with a news room, interview room and news studio on the first floor as well as an office area for BBC news.

In the planning officer’s report, it said the extension ‘could not be said to reflect a particularly exciting architectural statement, and in some ways is reminiscent of office blocks of the 1980s, and a continuation of this kind of approach would not, in an ideal world, be encouraged’.

It said the building was iconic due to its location but ’is not particularly architecturally attractive and is very much of its time’,

The extension was approved, with planners noting it was ‘neatly proportioned’ and ‘would reflect much of the existing building’s form and mass’.

In March, Treasury Minister Eddie Teare told the House of Keys he was ‘concerned’ about the broadcaster’s proposals.

He said nothing had been agreed with Treasury and Manx Radio would have to provide a ‘robust’ business case.

And he hinted changes may be needed, given that the state-subsided radio station is the only part of government to have its funding ring-fenced.

Manx Radio managing director Anthony Pugh said that Broadcasting House was identified by Treasury as ‘the worst premises in government ownership’ about 10 years ago.

Douglas Head Apartments Ltd had objected to the plan due to concerns about parking provision.

But it was noted the application included an increase of parking spaces from 20 to 26.

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