A Douglas councillor and MHK have welcomed the idea of a new village in the city but have raised some concerns about the project.
This comes after the Isle of Man Courier revealed plans by the government owned commercial company Manx Development Corporation (MDC) to develop a brownfield site in Westmoreland Road into 133 new homes.
The proposed development will be adjacent to the MDC’s redevelopment of the old nurses’ home in the area, which has already begun.
Both will form part of a ‘20-minute neighbourhood’, where people can live, work and shop within a 20-minute return journey.
The proposed new development will also include 20,000ft of office space, via the ‘re-imagining of Crookall House’, four retail units for businesses to move into and a community pavilion will also be built to ‘complement the existing educational, health and recreational facilities already in the area’.
This development is still in its preliminary stages and no planning application put forward for it yet.
Speaking to the Isle of Man Examiner, Councillor Stephen Pitts raised his worries about car parking: ‘My thoughts are it is great to develop brownfield sites and I like the idea of more homes in the city rather than on the outskirts, but it definitely needs a least one car parking space per unit.
‘I don’t think there is need for any more office space.
‘I also hope that there would be a percentage of first-time buyers property included.’
Speaking on Manx Radio, Ann Corlett, MHK for Douglas Central, said: ‘Overall, I think the plans are good, we’re desperately needing housing and accommodation.
‘It’s right in the middle of town and along a bus route.
‘My one huge negative is the parking issue. I flagged this up with the development corporation when I first saw the plans for the nurses’ homes part of this.
‘The fact that there is a bus stop outside does not negate the need for parking.
‘Parking around that area in general is so congested, adding anymore into the mix would be ridiculous.’
Also speaking to Manx Radio, Mr Pitts said: ‘Lots of days I come to this area to pick my grandson up from Henry Bloom Noble school and the amount of traffic that you see at 3.15pm is horrendous, so with all these people moving here with their cars and not moving them, imagine where we’ll be.’
An MDC spokesperson said: ‘It is proposed that car parking would be through a combination of surface and undercroft provision [below the building].
‘A large portion of the townhouses have dedicated off-street parking, there is basement parking below one of the main apartment blocks and street parking within the development.
‘As the island strives towards Net Zero by 2050 and looks to reduce our carbon emissions, we are hoping to provide those that choose to live in Westmoreland Village, the opportunity to go without a car, providing everything they need within a 10-minute round trip, easy access to public transport and sufficient bicycle parking for all.’
The project will go to the planning application stage following a public consultation, with the plan being to submit the planning paperwork ‘at the end of February.’
They said: ‘the final costs will be determined after the consultation has been concluded.’
The MDC also confirmed that it is in ‘dialogue’ with all property owners in the area it wishes to develop.
Chair of the board at MDC, Sean Gilbert, said: ‘It is a pleasure to be able to provide new build contemporary homes that will deliver sustainable living in a town-centre location, and to re-imagine another iconic Manx building in the form of Crookall House.’
The MDC is holding open public consultations to gather opinion about the new development and answer any questions people may have.
l Public consultations are being held this week at the Douglas Lawn Tennis Club on Kensington Road on Friday, January 27, from 3.30pm to 6.30pm and Saturday, January 28, from 11am to 3pm.