Douglas councillors have, yet again, hit out at undeveloped brownfield sites in the capital being used for car parking.
In this month’s sitting of the council, members debated parking after planners rejected an application to extend the use of a piece of land on the South Quay for parking by a further two years.
The council’s environmental services committee had written to planners objecting to the application, a position supported by council leader David Christian.
Mr Christian said the use of brownfield sites for car parking ’drags the town down’ and provides no benefit to the island’s capital.
He added that the council should not allow buildings to be demolished and then used for private rental parking which can cost the hirer over £1,000 a year.
Councillor Stephen Pitts voiced his support for clamping down on brownfield sites being used for car parking, noting some sites have been operational for over 10 years.
However, Councillor Sam Hamer said that those renting the spaces are only able to do so because there is a need for parking in Douglas from workers and shoppers.
While Councillor Devon Watson said Douglas has ’far too many car parks and far too few houses’ and that residents need to cut their car usage. He said the way to do this is for Tynwald to invest in more public transport.
Committee chairman Ritchie McNicholl said the committee had decided that two years was long enough for the South Quay site that the council has to encourage development.
’We want brownfield sites to be developed, we don’t want gaps with car parking,’ he added.
Mr McNicholl said that in the past the council had tried to introduce park and ride schemes, but they proved unsuccessful and said that the island has a ’car mentality’ which makes getting more people to use public transport more difficult.
When it was suggested that the council should encourage people to use multi-storey car parks, Mr McNicholl pointed out that the council has already returned two car parks, Chester Street and Drumgold Street (M&S) to the government as they were losing too much money.
Mr McNicholl had previously, in 2018, called for Chester Street to be demolished as it is no longer fit for purpose and is too small for many modern cars.