Government must act now to restore Douglas Railway Station or the only option will be to apply for demolition.
The Department of Infrastructure has defended its £1.4m plan for major alterations to the historic station.
It has revealed the building has structural problems, possibly caused by ‘local subsidence’, which would be addressed by the scheme.
A DoI spokesman said: ‘Douglas Railway Station is a registered building in a poor state of repair both structurally and visually. A scheme has been developed to secure the building for the future and utilise the vacant space to generate a commercial return.
‘At the present time only half the building is in use and this scheme brings the hidden areas back to a useable state.
‘The published budget for the scheme is £1.4m.’
The DoI has applied to remove the partitions, floors and ceilings and install a new first floor and mezzanine, staircase and lift. An expanded restaurant would be moved to the first floor, where public toilets would also be installed.
A new kitchen would be built in a ground floor store room, the ticket office would become a cafe, and the current restaurant would become a retail unit to increase revenue.
The spokesman said: ‘If we do not act now we will be faced with the building where the only option is to apply for demolition, and we feel it is much better to restore the building and make it part of a vibrant tourist attraction which is the principal role of the railways today.
‘Whilst some people have commented that working on the building would destroy its heritage many of these items are not actually that old. The ticket office windows for example were installed in the 1990s; one of these actually has nothing behind it.
‘The original ticket window is in store elsewhere on the railway. Artefacts such as the original map on the wall would be retained and reused.’