Politicians have slammed the lack of progress on a leisure complex development in the heart of Douglas.

It has been almost four years since the plans for the new buildings, which are to be built on Lord Street, were approved for construction.

Lord Street Development SPV Ltd bought the land for the development, with Kane Ltd, of which businessman Stephen Bradley is listed as a director, acting as the guarantor for the sale of the land.

In July 2020, Tim Baker, who was the then-Minister for Infrastructure, said that the sale of the land contained a provision for two further agreements.

The first of these was for the development of Lord Street and the other is a deal for the Department of Infrastructure to lease back part of the site for an information centre and bus station.

Plans for the complex include a hotel, 20 flats, cafes, a restaurant, multiplex cinema (inset) and a multi-storey car park.

The site is currently being used as a free car park, which has been the case since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Joney Faragher, MHK for Douglas East, said: ‘It should be unacceptable to us all to see this site remain undeveloped.

‘This site has had a planning application approved, yet no work has taken place and the site has just been used as a car park for years.’

Douglas East councillor Devon Watson said: ‘It is shocking to see a prime piece of real estate in the heart of the capital go undeveloped.

‘The site would be perfect for commercial development, a bus station or much-needed housing.

‘More work needs to be done to ensure that developers are accountable for their promises and we need to see that brownfield sites, both public and private are properly used.’

Andrew Bentley, another councillor for Douglas East, has different concerns about the proposals.

He said: ‘The council’s position at the time of the planning application was to support the application and I don’t think there has been any change since then.

‘I have my thoughts about the design and the priority that is given to cars over people, particularly when considered along with the adjoining Middlemarch proposal.

‘Anyone arriving by ferry and heading to the west or south will be greeted by two multi-storey car parks.’

Douglas East MHK Clare Barber said: ‘As a constituency MHK, development of Lord Street and the surrounding areas remains a priority for me.

‘The Built Environment Reform Programme (BERP) and the Eastern Area Plan both focus on the need for brownfield redevelopment and urban regeneration, and I remain keen to see this prominent site brought back into purposeful use.’

The BERP programme is a two-year scheme set out in the Island Plan to develop ‘quality and vibrancy in urban living and town centre regeneration through sustainable development and a refreshed planning system for customer service’.

This plot of land was the site of the Douglas bus station until it was torn down in 2001.

Ms Faragher added: ‘As someone who believes our public transport system is important in so many ways – assisting those on lower incomes, transporting our school children, linking people, and of course, helping us achieve climate targets, I feel that losing our bus station to car parking is sad and doesn’t demonstrate the kind of future-friendly thinking we need to see.’

Speaker of the House of Keys Juan Watterson has previously been vocal about the need for public transport provision to be included in the development.

He said: ‘It’s a massive frustration to bus users, of which I am one, that there are still no indoor waiting facilities and no toilet facilities at Lord Street.

‘It is, I am sure, an embarrassment to those who have allowed this to happen, and I hope that the DoI will reflect on the different approaches that have been tried over the last 15 years without success, to deliver something positive for residents and tourists alike.’

The original agreement was for construction to be completed by May 2023, however, the agreement was changed due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the development’s plans.

Conor Bradley, commercial director of Kane Ltd and the son of Stephen Bradley said: ‘Discussions with various government departments are currently ongoing, and entirely dependent on the outcome of these discussions, we would expect to see a revised planning application submitted towards the end of this year.’

As the Isle of Man Examiner reported in September 2020, one big stumbling block was that two of the three ‘anchor tenants’ – Pizza Express and Travelodge – had entered into insolvency procedures.

A number of other proposals for the site over the last 20 years have failed.