Improvements for town centre eyesore

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A PROJECT to improve the appearance of one of the capital’s car parks is nearing completion.

The £23,000 scheme, funded by the Town and Village Centre regeneration fund will transform the notorious Lord Street car park using special screening along the Lord Street and Parade Street boundaries.

The screens, which are inter-linked, incorporate planters and seating sections. The scheme is the result of a partnership between the Douglas regeneration committee, Douglas Development Partnership, Douglas Council, the Department of Infrastructure and the police.

Council leader David Christian said the measure was a temporary solution pending the full redevelopment of the area.

He said the council had worked closely with Douglas Development Partnership and the government on regenerating the town centre, which they saw as a number one priority.

‘The Lord Street car park scheme is a cost-effective but short-term solution to enhancing what is a prominent but, until now, visually unappealing site,’ he said.

Chris Pycroft, development manager for Douglas Development Partnership, said: ‘The unsightly appearance of the car park regularly prompts comments not only from local residents but also from visitors, especially those arriving by ferry.

‘Anecdotal accounts tell of some first-time visitors believing the police vehicles parked on the site indicate a local disturbance. This is clearly not the image we wish this gateway to the capital of the Isle of Man to portray.’

He added the screening sections were all locally made using Manx wood at the St John’s sawmills. Low maintenance shrubs would be used in the planters and the whole structure could be transported and reused elsewhere once the Lord Street site was redeveloped.

‘This scheme is the first physical project in Douglas to be funded by the Town and Village Centre regeneration fund that will be of immediate benefit to members of the public and make a very real difference to such a high-visibility site in the town centre,’ he said.

Douglas regeneration committee chairman David Cretney MHK said he welcomed the scheme, which would improve the appearance of the area until proper passenger facilities could be provided as part of a new bus station.

‘In the meantime these improvements will certainly make things look better,’ he said.

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