An extra 750 parking spaces will be needed in Douglas by the year 2027, MHKs were told.
New Infrastructure Minister Laurence Skelly MHK was quizzed in the House of Keys about his department’s future car parking policy by Douglas West MHK Chris Thomas.
Mr Skelly said that a recently produced Douglas town centre parking study and parking policy developments options report had identified the need to look for additional parking provision.
The report suggests that by 2017 there would be a need for an extra 50 spaces, by 2022 a need for an additional 450 spaces and by 2027 a need for 750 extra. It recommended that during the next five years consideration should be given to finding and planning suitable facilities for additional parking.
Mr Skelly said that following receipt of the report, his department had set up an officer-led working group with local authorities. The properties division had reported on proposals for the future direction of on and off-street car parking at a meeting on Monday this week.
He said a further report will be made in the summer outlining the recommendations from the working party and his department would then review those recommendations to help set future policy.
Mr Skelly said the second deck of the Tongue car park is currently being developed and that will go towards meeting the short term 2017 requirement. ‘A business case for further off street car parking will be developed to meet the medium and long term requirements,’ he added.
The Minister pointed out that if various sites in Parade Street and Lord Street are redeveloped it may well be necessary to build a further multi-storey car park.
Mr Thomas asked whether the scope of the investigation would include alternatives means of getting into town and parking spaces for government employees. Mr Skelly replied park and ride and public transport would be taken into consideration and parking privileges for government staff would be reviewed cross-departmentally. He said charging was another issue that needs to be considered as part of a debate on parking around the island.
Peter Karran MHK (Lib Van, Onchan) suggested it would be madness to charge for on-street parking as that would ‘almost certainly reduce Douglas to the same level as many outside towns’.
The Minister said pay parking will be considered but only in context and he fully recognised the potential damage it might have on the retail sector.