THE island’s chief Minister has stressed the importance of town and village regeneration to support future economic growth in the Isle of Man.
Allan Bell said the image of the island as well as its infrastructure were both vital in attracting high quality international business.
Mr Bell said: ‘I have been critical in the past of the rundown appearance of some of our retail areas as they create a poor impression of the Island as a whole.
‘A good quality environment can give the local community a lift and stimulate fresh investment and jobs.
‘That’s why Government is leading from the front and providing the funding to help local economies to achieve their full potential.’
More than 150 projects have been supported by the Isle of Man Town and Village Regeneration Scheme, which started in April 2009 with funding of up to £8m.
Awards have been approved for a wide range of activities, from minor improvements to individual properties and parades of shops, to larger scale schemes to create more vibrant commercial centres.
Work has included the painting and repair of shop facades, the installation of windows and canopies, and the provision of new street furniture, paving, public art and lighting.
Projects are co-ordinated by Regional Regeneration Committees, which are partnerships between Government, local authorities and private enterprise. These in turn are influenced by public feedback.
Notable among the improvements carried out so far are those to Nelson Street and Wellington Street in Douglas, and The Lanes and the area around the old courthouse in Ramsey.
Mr Bell added: ‘Growing the economy is one of our national priorities and investment in the physical appearance of our towns and villages is just one of a wide range of activities aimed at supporting existing businesses and encouraging new investment.
‘Douglas is our main business hub and gateway to the Isle of Man, and I’m pleased that work has started this week on a scheme to rejuvenate part of the main retail zone.
‘However, activity is not just focused on Douglas; regeneration funding is being spread throughout the island, so communities should start to see signs of improvement in the months ahead.’
Other work is in the pipeline and a newsletter contains updates on progress so far and plans for future development. The newsletter can be found at www.gov.im/lib/docs/ded/Regeneration/regenerationnewsletter2013.pdf
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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