A development to create office space, flats and shops in Douglas has an ‘unlimited’ timeframe to be finished.

The mixed use development is in Duke Street and has been under construction since 2021.

Douglas North MHK, John Wannenburgh, asked for an update on it in a written question to the Environment Minister, Clare Barber.

Mrs Barber explained the planning application was submitted on the site, 42 to 50 Duke Street, Douglas, for a mixed use development with ground-floor retail units and 20 residential apartments on its upper floors (20/00679/B).

It was approved on August 26, 2021 and expires on August 26, 2025.

‘Accordingly, this planning approval is still valid,’ Mrs Barber said.

‘Having said this, the ground works and construction of the steelwork would likely be regarded as commencement of the development and therefore has an unlimited time for the works to be completed.

‘The department has had no correspondence with the applicants and owners since the commencement of works on the site.’

Duke Street Commercial Ltd has already demolished 42-50 Duke Street and is in the process of building a six-storey block.

The steel skeleton has been in place for all six storeys of the building since November 2021.

Work on this briefly stopped but Thomson Hunter Associates, of Kilmarnock in Scotland, confirmed works had ‘restarted’ in February 2022.

The planning application for this complex was first approved at appeal in 2019, and demolition began in May 2020.

Originally planned to have nine flats, a new application was put in during July 2021 to bring the total to 20.

An underground car park was also discussed but did not go ahead.

The overall size and shape of the building will not change now.

Asked if the structure is ‘sound’, the minister said that the site falls under the remit of the Douglas Borough Council building control, which will be able to advise on what inspections have been requested in the past and previously carried out.

Enquiries regarding the soundness or stability of the structure, should be directed to the building control team, which can be contacted on 696375 or by emailing [email protected]

The Health and Safety at Work Inspectorate should be consulted in relation to any concerns regarding work being undertaken on the site and can be contacted on 685881 or [email protected]

Mrs Barber explained in her response: ‘It is the responsibility of the site owner and developer to ensure that they have the appropriate third-party liability insurance or any other relevant insurances in place.

‘This is a civil matter between the relevant parties and is not a matter that the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture would be involved in.’