A retrospective planning application to build a sea wall in Douglas has had to be submitted by the Department of Infrastructure (DoI).

Work on the new flood defence, which will protect the promenade, road and horse trams from wave overtopping during storms and very high tides, began with little fanfare a couple of weeks ago.

Work had been due to start in January but it only began in earnest recently which was after the expiry date of the planning permission granted on appeal in May 2020.

A spokesman for the DoI said: ‘The Douglas sea wall project is designed to reduce the effect of overtopping in the future as well as protect Isle of Man Government assets, specifically the promenade highway and horse tram tacks.

‘A new planning application is now in place (24/00743/B) with work fully commenced on a section to the north of Broadway. The new submission is identical to the previous one (19/00755) which expired on May 1, 2024.

‘The DoI notified the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture that it wished to continue with works and confirmed that a further planning application would be submitted in order to regularise the situation.’

The application will be considered at a later date but it is high unlikely the plans will be turned down at this stage.

The new wall will replace the existing railings along a 500m stretch of the Promenade from a point just south of the Douglas War Memorial on Harris Promenade to a point opposite the Empress Hotel on Central Promenade.

The scheme was originally estimated to cost £500,000 back in 2018 but the price tag is now expected to be £900,000 – equal to £1,800 a metre.  A dramatic increase in the costs of labour and materials is being blamed for the price hike.

A short section of wall has been erected by the Cenotaph to give an idea of what it will look like. But the main construction work is currently taking place opposite the Empress Hotel. Work is due to finish in September.

The wall is being constructed from cast in-situ reinforced concrete with decorative surfaces that mirror the features on the existing concrete pillars. It will be 1.2m (3ft 11ins) high, which will allow people to continue to enjoy views out to sea from the Promenade.

But its design will allow for a future increase in the height of by up to 0.6m should it be necessary.

Planning consent (19/00755/B) was approved on appeal in May 2020, having previously been refused by the planning committee.

The wall will feature a series of artwork panels designed by local artists.

Public access past the worksite along the Promenade Walkway is being maintained throughout the project.

Planning approval has also been granted to replace a further section of railings with the new sea wall between the Sea Terminal and the kiosk at the Bottleneck Car Park.