Victory for people power over Peel’s regeneration scheme

The archway at St Peter's Church and Market Place, Peel

The archway at St Peter's Church and Market Place, Peel

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A Peel protest group have won their battle to save the gateway and arch at St Peter’s Church in the town’s Market Place.

£1.16m regeneration work started in Peel in March but the replacement of a wall at St Peter’s Church with white steps sparked outrage among residents.

Regeneration work in Market Place, Peel

Regeneration work in Market Place, Peel

Two protests were held in the Market Place with Peel commissioner Hazel Hannan describing the work as ‘vandalism’ and a ‘disgrace’.

Mrs Hannan expressed further concerns over plans to fill in the gateway into the church with the sandstone from the demolished wall.

There were also plans to remove the metal arch above the gateway.

But a statement from the organising committee of the Peel Market Place demonstration, released by Mrs Hannan and Peel resident Steven Moore, said: ‘Following the demonstration there have been discussions with the island’s regeneration project manager Steven Stanley and Peel Town Commissioners who have agreed to retain the gateway and provide gates in a similar style to the last recorded gates to the churchyard.

‘There is also to be a meeting for anyone interested in protecting the built environment within the conservation area in Peel and developing skills to comment on developments/planning applications either in the conservation area or in Peel generally.’

The meeting will be held on October 25 at the Centenary Centre in Atholl Street, starting at 7.30pm, with Minister for Policy and Reform Chris Thomas speaking along with planning officers. The subject is ‘Peel’s Future in Planning’ and there will be a presentation on the Strategic Plan, which is what the next Peel Area Development Plan will be based on.

Asked if the retention of the arch and gateway was a victory for people power Mrs Hannan said: ‘I think it is. It’s just a shame we didn’t do it a year ago and save the wall too.

‘We can’t understand putting the white steps in. We know the road will be different colours too but it’s just spending money for the sake of it when it could have been better spent elsewhere in Peel.’

Mr Stanley said: ‘The opportunity to explore the possibility of retaining the existing gateway has been taken and we are working to find accurate records of the former gates which have at some point been removed with a view to replicating and reinstating these as part of the project.’

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