The developer of the proposed Cambrian Place multi-storey car park and library in Douglas hopes the £12.85 million project will start this autumn.
On Friday Time and Tide Group submitted a ‘reserved matters’ application, which may address some of the conditions laid out when the initial planning application (12/00831/B) for the Douglas Council facility was approved.
The developer said that with the submission of the detailed plans, which ‘flesh out the finer detail of the project’, only the ‘relevant approvals’ are now required to start work, and projected that the project – on the site bounded by Lord Street, Fort Street, Cambrian Place and Muckles Gate – could be finished by the end of next year.
Time and Tide managing director John Asplin said: ‘We can’t stress enough the importance of the council taking the lead in the provision of car parking in the area, we’ve always believed this development has the potential to play a catalytic role in the regeneration of lower Douglas, whilst providing much needed facilities in economic as well as social terms.’
He added: ‘This facility will cater for the planned displacement from the two neighbouring development sites, currently being used as car parks, which in turn will enable the planned leisure scheme development on Middlemarch to be accelerated. It’s logical the horse has to come before the cart.’
The managing director of scheme contractors BCS Ltd, Malcolm Blackburn, said: ‘We are currently into the detailed design and programming stage, and our first priority will be to liaise with the neighbouring properties and current users.’
Asked on how optimistic an autumn start date was, Douglas councillor David Ashford said that until there was government approval for the council to borrow almost £13 million, there could be no real time scale. He agreed, however, that the current plans ‘could be the kick start for development in the area’.
The neighbouring Middlemarch site was bought for £3.2 million by the government in April as part of the Sefton Group bail-out, to lease back to the company.
There have been calls by Douglas councillor Bill Malarkey to not to ‘rush off and spend a great deal of money’ on Cambrian Place, and consider a joint development with the government of the former Lord Street bus station site, as a bus station that incorporated a new library and car park.
Douglas West MHK and former town councillor Chris Thomas said: ‘Throughout my time in council, I lobbied to have Cambrian Place postponed until it was integrated with other development in lower Douglas. I have stated that all Douglas car parks should be managed by a single authority and Chester Street should be refurbished before a new car park was built. If the proposed development is integrated, and the plans are better, I wish the council and developers good luck.’