Prom revamp moves on

The horse tram lines are to be moved as part of the project and they won't run at all next year

The horse tram lines are to be moved as part of the project and they won't run at all next year

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Tynwald has voted to spend £1.362m for the second phase of the Douglas promenades improvement scheme.

Member for Infrastructure John Houghton MHK told the court phase two involved the reconstruction of the road, footways and drainage on a short section between Peveril Square and just before the junction with Regent Street.

It will pave the way for the next phase of the scheme which will see the horse tram track moved from the centre of the road to the seaward side of the carriageway.

This will mean that horse tram operations will not be affected this year but they will be suspended altogether for the whole of the 2015 season.

Mr Houghton said a dedicated corridor would be set aside on the seaward side of carriageway ready for a relocated tram track and an area by the Bottleneck car park would also be set aside for a tram terminus and shelter.

He told the court: ‘It is regarded by many as a gateway to the island.’

He said its neglected state was perceived as a block on investment.

But Peter Karran (Lib Van, Onchan) tabled a motion, calling for a delay pending an assessment of flood risk. He argued all the ‘superficial work’ would be in danger if the issue of flooding was not addressed first.

David Quirk MHK (Onchan) said he wanted an assurance that Douglas Corporation, as owner of the horse trams, was committed to the scheme.

‘If we touch those rails are we committed to a £3m expenditure?’ he asked.

Chief Minister Allan Bell said he felt ‘totally demoralised by the negativity’ which he branded ‘appalling localism at its worst’.

He said government was also about to go public on proposals for the redevelopment of Lord Street and central Douglas.

Mr Houghton said the sea wall had a lifespan of well in excess of 30 years with an ongoing programme of maintenance.

And former Infrastructure Minister David Cretney MHK (Douglas South): ‘We should get on with this.’

Alex Downie MLC said the state of the island’s ‘shop window’ was a ‘disgrace’.

Geoff Corkish MLC said the work was long overdue and praised the work completed in phase one as ‘remarkable’.

Dudley Butt MLC said he wished the revamp had started at the Queen’s Promenade end.

The scheme was ‘largely cosmetic’, he suggested, and safety should take a priority.

Mr Karran’s amendment was rejected and phase two of the Douglas Promenade improvement scheme subsequently approved, with just Mr Karran and Mr Quirk voting against.

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