A demolition crew has finished tearing down Ballacloan School as part of the construction site for the old nurses’ home.
The infants’ school site will serve as ‘temporary parking for storage of plant vehicles and equipment’ for the project, which is set to create 33 new homes in Douglas.
In a cover letter, the MDC said: ‘The former nurses’ home site does not have sufficient area in which to accommodate all the requirements and for this reason we are seeking approval to utilise the former Ballacloan School site.’
Construction on Ballacloan school started in 1905, as documented in a newspaper article found in a time capsule unearthed during the demolition.
The school closed in 2016 along with the Fairfield school site. This was three years after the two schools merged to form Henry Bloom Noble Primary School in 2013 and the school moved to the present site on Westmoreland Road.
The old nurses’ home project is part of a larger plan suggested by the developers the Manx Development Corporation (MDC).
The plan is to create 170 new homes in the Westmoreland Road area in a new ‘20-minute neighbourhood’, where everything needed to live can be found in a 20-minute journey.
The MDC held a public consultation to inform the local residents about its plans for the area and to gain feedback from them about the plans.
Douglas councillor Stephen Pitts went to the consultation and has since asked questions to the housing and property committee of the Douglas council.
These questions were published and concerned social housing and the suggested play area in the new development, among other things.
However, the answers were given in a private meeting and were not published as negotiations were still ongoing between the council and the MDC.
Cllr Pitts said: ‘I never knew how many properties the council was getting or even if we were getting any properties until I went to the consultation.
‘I was also told why they were being built – to release other social housing so young families could move into the larger ones and senior people could move into the accommodation on Westmoreland Road.’
Cllr Pitts has previously voiced his concerns about the parking spaces available on the new complex and his issues with it persist.
He said: ‘It’s alright saying “people can walk to work” but what happens if you don’t?
‘What happens if you work in Onchan or Union Mills? Not everybody can live on site and walk to work, I’m sure they can’t.’
Cllr Pitts also asked the council how much the development will cost, the Isle of Man Examiner put this question to the MDC however it told us they cannot reveal the cost as it would disrupt negotiations.
The MDC did say that the project was ‘privately funded’.
The corporation plans to submit planning papers by the end of February. It will also release feedback collected.