Douglas Council will support an appeal over blocked plans for redevelopment of the Newson’s building on North Quay.

The idea to create new housing, and retail units, on the site was supported unanimously by the council when the application was put forward in February.

Plans for the £8 million development known as Merchant’s Place sparked controversy when they were submitted and the planning committee refused the plans in September.

It said the development did not provide ‘sufficient justification for its total loss’.

The proposal would have meant the demolition of six buildings, two of which were registered and one being an historic warehouse.

The council says it believes there is a ‘tremendous opportunity’ for people to live there and ‘bring some life back’ into the centre of Douglas.

Kelproperties, which owns the building, is appealing against the decision made by the committee.

Douglas councillor Ian Clague said: ‘Here we’ve got an opportunity and it’s a balance.

‘I’m not personally averse to the conservation argument, far from it.

‘It is absolutely ideal that we have and keep our treasured heritage but at the point of the matter, when you’ve got a conflict, do we stop and look back or do we move on, do we grow?

‘The area has had money invested in it, both by ratepayers of Douglas and by taxpayers of the island, by the very purpose that it’s proposed to develop, if somebody could come up with something economically viable to do something that would fit in with the plans, would fit in with the area, fit in with housing, fine, but nobody seems to be coming forward.

‘So, what are we going to do?

‘Are we going to let it stand there and fall down?’

Fellow councillor Falk Horning agreed.

He added: ‘Most people of Douglas and of the island and tourists who come to the island would say that this site needs attention, it needs to be developed.

‘I personally think that investment in high density areas very much makes sense.

‘It maximises the public transport, active travel, economically for productivity, there’s more room for encouragement for social spaces to be developed in town.’