The Salvation Army have submitted plans (21/01486/B) to expand their current headquarters at the business park in Braddan, which involve extensive refurbishments and the addition of a worship hall.

The charity’s current two-storey building, which used to belong to the British Red Cross, occupies a relatively small foot print compared to the plot of land it sits on in the park.

It was formerly headquartered at Lord Street in Douglas, but had to leave in 2018 because of ’the discovery of significant structural defects’.

The Salvation Army said it ’had always been a longer term aspiration’ to extend and re-model the new business park building to accommodate a worship hall, ’in order to create a permanent base for the delivery of both the church and community components of its mission programme’.

Currently, The Salvation Army rents Pulrose Methodist Church for Sunday Worship.

Corps officer and joint leader of the island charity Captain Dylan Nieuwoudt said: ’We’re excited to create an atmosphere of welcome and openness to all, and the plans for developing the site will create so many more opportunities for our mission.

’It has been designed to allow us to further serve the wider island itself and hopefully provide a free and friendly community space for nearby residents, as well as for the employees of the surrounding offices’.

He added: ’We believe that the multi-purpose hall will not only provide a physical difference to the people of our local communities, but also a practical difference allowing everything to flow and take place under one roof, in one home.’

The charity summarised that the new plans would help it expand its programme of activities and provide the home for ’their worshiping community; as they have been nomadic for a number of years’.

Among the extensions would also be eco-friendly features like solar panels and an air source heat pump.

The front of the building will incorporate a large, glazed façade, to maximise natural daylight, provide solar gain during winter and facilitate natural ventilation, whilst the inside will feature underfloor heating. Outside will potentially see the installation of charging facilities for electric bicycles which can be used by visitors to The Salvation Army and also workers on the business park.

In an accompanying planning statement, the charity explained that it would not be financially viable to operate two sites at the same time, and historically Salvation Army charities have operated from a single site - ’in this respect, they are no different to any other Christian church, whose community and worship functions operate from the same location,’ it said.

New services that would be offered included drop-in sessions up to the community, and also the hosting of funerals, weddings and an evening youth group.

Current services that would be expanded include the parent and toddler group, the lunch club and the messy church (which is an arts and crafts-based club for children).