We must push on with prison site redevelopment, say MHKs

The former Isle of Man Prison in Victoria Road, Douglas

The former Isle of Man Prison in Victoria Road, Douglas

Have your say

Douglas North MHKs John Houghton and Bill Henderson have welcomed the draft development brief for the former Isle of Man Prison site in Victoria Road, Douglas.

The brief sets out the basic guidelines for any development proposals to consider.

It states: ‘The use of the site shall be limited to the creation of a residential development which may also feature residential/day care uses.’

The two MHKs have campaigned for the reuse of the site in both Tynwald and the House of Keys.

Mr Houghton said: ‘We really do need to push on with this initiative now. It is long overdue.

‘Both myself and Mr Henderson have been pursuing the redevelopment of this site for a long time.

‘However, in doing so we have the utmost respect for the residents living in the area, monitoring any issues that may arise as a consequence of any development and mitigate those as far as possible.

‘Any development must be in keeping and an enhancement.’

Mr Henderson said: ‘We have been calling for this site to be developed for some considerable time now, and especially for a sheltered housing type scheme, in-keeping with the area.

‘Generally, and locally to North Douglas we are desperate for single person housing units and sheltered housing in the public sector.

‘There could also be a split in this being public and private, as we see in Willaston, which has worked well, and would suit this site and area.

‘Duke’s Road, Victoria Avenue and Victoria Road are an established neighbourhood district. The [Department of Infrastructure] also needs to have the views of Douglas Corporation on this. We have seen joint sheltered housing initiatives work well in the past as we see at Edmund Chadwick Grove.’

In the development brief it states that the former prison gatehouse was a three storey building, which sat well back from the public highway of Victoria Road.

‘The building did not appear to be a dominant or an overbearing feature within the street scene,’ it continues.

‘It is considered that any building greater than two storeys abutting the back of the footpath on Victoria Road would appear too dominant within the street scene and would look out of place, it would therefore not be advisable to design a scheme with more than two storeys in this area of the site.’

A public consultation on the draft development brief ends on April 11.

After the deadline, the DoI will publish a summary of matters raised in the consultation on its website.

Where appropriate, it will make amendments as a result of the consultation, and it will then arrange for the final version to be approved by the department and published as a development brief.

The draft development brief is being produced in advance of any work on the Area Plan for the East.

It will provide interim planning guidance for the site, which will eventually be incorporated within the Area Plan.

The Victoria Road facility held prisoners from 1891 to August 2008, when prisoners were transferred to the new prison at Jurby.

The prison was demolished in early 2013, and has recently been cleared and levelled.

View the consultation online at www.gov.im/consultations or from the Planning Office, Murray House, Mount Havelock, Douglas.

Back to the top of the page