This will increase footfall

Friday 22nd April 2022 7:35 am
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North Quay in Douglas has been closed to traffic daily since Good Friday, in an effort by Douglas Borough Council to improve the area and increase footfall.

Each evening, until the end of September, the quayside from St Matthew’s Church to the old Market Hall will be pedestrianised.

This is a move the council believes will benefit visitors and businesses alike in increasing the capacity available.

Lead councillor for regeneration and community, Andrew Bentley, says TT race week is a great opportunity to experiment with extending the scheme through the day.

He said: ‘The reports that we got back from the businesses are that they are trading up when it’s closed between St Matthew’s Church and Market Hall.

‘I always say let’s make Douglas like somewhere you’d always want to go on holiday and you go to a marina anywhere in the world, they’re not driving cars down it, you’ve got a line of restaurants and cafes, you’ve got a marina, you’ve got the sun shining, everyone can come down to north quay and have a great time.

‘I make it no secret that I’d like it to be closed for lunchtime because you can go down and have your sandwich there. Logistically it works much better for the businesses.’

This was first done in 2020 as a trial by Business Isle of Man and the Department of Enterprise. It was supported by the Department of Infrastructure at the time.

The trial saw a portion of the quay area closed between 5.30pm and 11pm every day for six weeks from August until September.

Lawrie Hooper, a DfE member at the time, said then that with many restaurants and cafes using additional outdoor seating ‘to boost their bottom-line during the summer months’, it would allow time to ‘measure the positive impact that creating more outdoor space could have on the island’s outdoor dining culture’.

There will also be a special closure in TT week with the quayside closing to traffic from 11.30am each morning.

Mr Bentley explained what the plan will be, adding: ‘The big change we’re going to do is we’re going to close it at 11.30am during TT week and the weekends either side, so we’ll really see what it looks like when it’s closed all afternoon when the island’s at its busiest and hopefully more of the TT atmosphere will be down on the quay.’

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