Government update on £8m regeneration progress for Manx towns and villages

Artist's impression of George Lane in Castletown

Artist's impression of George Lane in Castletown

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Douglas, Peel, Castletown, Laxey and Port Erin are all part of plans to revamp the Isle of Man under the government’s regeneration project.

In Douglas, the regeneration focus is currently on the main retail area around Marks and Spencer, Regent Street and Duke Street.

Regent Street benches

Regent Street benches

New paving has been installed around the Marks and Spencer entrances to provide level surfaces with easy gradients, designed to help people with mobility difficulties and those with pushchairs.

Work joining the main street to Wellington Street is complete.

The work started in March 2013 and is scheduled for completion by November 17, in time for Christmas shopping. The government has said that no work will be undertaken in Douglas during the Christmas shopping period.

Elsewhere in the island, the work on George Lane in Castletown got under way at the beginning of August. The Castletown lane links the car parking and coach stop to the main square.

Regeneration project managerSteven Stanley said: ‘George Lane is a typical backstreet with poor quality surfaces which do not provide a fitting welcome to visitors and residents.

‘Adjoining landowners, Castletown Commissioners and local business people have worked alongside Government to design a pilot scheme which will include new paving, lighting, street furniture and artwork to make it into a place that Castletown can be proud of,’ he added.

Work on Laxey, Peel and Port Erin will be following shortly with the creation of a dedicated coach stop and information area in Mines Road in Laxey, a new gateway to Peel in Derby Road, and a Port Erin square created at the Railway Station.

The gateway to Peel will be a new entrance to the cathedral grounds with an archway, opposite the Town Hall.

There will be enhanced paving designed to renew the appearance of Port St Mary’s shopping area, while public art and new pedestrian signs will be displayed in the hope of making the town more welcoming.

Mr Stanley said of Ramsey’s recent regeneration work: ‘The transformation of the area around Ramsey Courthouse is the latest example of the investment being made to reinvigorate local economies.

‘When the people of Ramsey were consulted about what they wanted regeneration to achieve, they said the town needed a new heart,’ he added.

The catalyst behind the initiative, and many others throughout the Isle of Man, has been the Town and Village Regeneration Scheme, which was established by Government with funding of £8 million.

‘Government, Ramsey Commissioners and local businesses have worked together to deliver that aim. We think that the Courthouse is clean, bright, and attractive and comes alive with people walking, talking and lingering in the new spaces created,’ continued Mr Stanley.

Work in Ramsey started in June 2012 and was completed by June 2013, on time and within budget.

Ramsey architects Dalrymple’s carried out the design work and Island Drainage and Ground Works undertook the construction.

The crowning glory of the regeneration is the newly installed sculpture of Kings of Mann and the Isles playing a board game.

The artwork has been relocated from the Town Hall to the front of the Courthouse.

When opening the Ramsey Courthouse area, the Chief Minister said: ‘Government is using its funds to regenerate town and village centres at a pace which maximises the opportunity for change.

‘The work in Ramsey is a catalyst to help bring investment and people to the town.

‘Already we are seeing new shops springing up and more people visiting and staying longer in the town centre,’ he added.

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