Plans to develop the former nurses’ home on Westmoreland Road have been given the green light by planners, subject to a legal agreement.

The application (22/00254/B) will see the nurses’ home converted and extended to allow the creation of 37 flats and a takeaway cafe.

While planners have approved the application, the first such development from the Manx Development Corporation, it is still subject to the company agreeing to a Section 13 legal agreement with the government.

A Section 13 agreement covers the requirement for development with eight or more dwellings to include provision for 25% of those dwellings to be affordable housing. In this instance, that would require nine of the 37 flats.

It also includes the requirement for developments to include public open spaces.

In place of this, the agreement sees MDC pay a commuted sum of £23,040 while retaining a provision of 100 square metres of public open space.

In place of providing affordable housing on this site, MDC must agree either to provide the nine affordable homes on another site within Douglas in the next five years or pay a commuted sum of £374,385. This has been agreed by both MDC and the Department of Infrastructure.

The MDC had said in its submissions that the ‘viability around this developments means that we need to retain the properties for rental to allow a return’.

In recommending the site for approval, principal planner Chris Balmer noted several factors in favour of development, including ‘the proposal to redevelop an existing building of architectural, historical and social interest, while extending in a sensitive and appropriate way’.

Once completed, the MDC and its partners will look to rent out the 37 flats, comprising 17 two-bed units and 21 one-bed units. The site will also include six on site parking spaces and the reinstatement of the public-facing clock within the clock tower.

Due to the site’s location, being within walking distance of public transport, and local amenities, the planning committee agreed to waive a requirement for parking provision that would’ve seen the need for 54 spaces for the 37 flats. In his report, Mr Balmer went so far as to say it would be ‘impossible’ to provide the required spaces.