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The Department for Enterprise has today confirmed that three proposals have been approved in principle for funding from the Island Infrastructure Scheme to redevelop three key brownfield sites across the Island, supported by substantial private sector investment of nearly £50m.

The Scheme was launched in January 2023, to provide up to 25% funding in support of registered unoccupied urban sites that have been empty for many years and are not financially viable to redevelop without additional support.

Two of the applications supported in principle will provide residential accommodation in line with the Island Plan’s ambition to improve housing provisions, with 1,000 additional occupied homes by the end of 2026. 

Lake Road, Douglas

They propose 55 apartments developed at Lake Road in Douglas by Duluth Limited, part of the Dandara Group, and 38 apartments developed on the site of the former Ocean Castle Hotel in Port Erin, by Tevir Properties Limited.

Ocean Castle Hotel in Port Erin

Planning applications for both sites will be lodged within six months, and up to 10% of eligible costs, excluding land has been approved in principle, payable upon completion of the developments.

The third proposal approved in principle through the Scheme is for a major redevelopment of the former Villiers Hotel site on Loch Promenade in Douglas, with a mixed use development proposed by Tevir Properties Limited, including over 80,000 ft2 of commercial, retail and leisure space, together with a high quality public realm incorporating a new revised Civic Square and a new 80 bedroom hotel.

A detailed planning application will be lodged by the end of the year and, subject to planning, the Scheme aims to be complete in 2026, with up to 25% of eligible costs approved in principle, payable upon completion of the development.

Further applications remain under consideration, and the Department for Enterprise is also considering a further round for residential developments later in the year.

Tim Johnston MHK, Minister for Enterprise commented:

‘The Island Infrastructure Scheme represents a significant stride towards realising the Island’s vision for sustainable growth, connectivity and prosperity.

Through this Scheme, we are leveraging private sector funding and capability in line with the Economic Strategy, working together to secure the regeneration of complex urban unoccupied sites. We are now enabling the redevelopment of key vacant sites across the Island which have remained empty for decades. The combination of substantial construction activity, together with ongoing active use post regeneration over many years, ensures that as well as securing substantial private sector investment, there is an expected overall value to the economy and the public purse significantly in excess of any grants ultimately paid.

By breathing new life into neglected spaces, this Scheme not only addresses the pressing issue the Island faces, but also demonstrates our commitment, as outlined in our Island Plan, to creating a more vibrant, sustainable and inclusive future, with towns and our capital at the heart of development, enabling communities to thrive.’

Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Treasury Minister added:

‘Key ambitions outlined in Our Island Plan and Economic Strategy are to further develop infrastructure and services for our community and plan for increased jobs, increased visitors and an increased working population. By providing funding from the £100m Economic Strategy Fund for schemes such as the Island Infrastructure Scheme, we are supporting and incentivising the private sector to invest in our Island while contributing to the economic growth, prosperity and sustainability of our Island.

'The considerable investment sought from the private sector is aligned with our ambitions to see £1bn invested over the long term, comprising both public and private finance, which in turn will allow us to further develop our Island and create an environment that is vibrant and attractive for all.

'The provision of support in principle to the private sector is a key element of this approach to regeneration, sitting alongside the direct work the Manx Development Corporation (MDC) which is publically owned, and progressing with its own plans for Government-owned brownfield sites.

'As well as the existing work underway for the former Nurses Home in Douglas, and the plans now lodged for Westmoreland Road, which combined will see 170 residential homes created as well as commercial and social developments, MDC plays an important role in supporting the regeneration of Douglas.

'During the last year, MDC has undertaken a number of investigations, surveys and feasibility studies around the Parade Street car park site in Lower Douglas. Following these investigations and approval from its steering group, MDC are in the early stages of a design process to create a multi-use development on the site.

'Working in line with the already approved Tynwald masterplan for Lower Douglas, and the latest Area plan for the East, the site will include an expansion of its current capacity as a car park to help unlock the potential of the Lower Douglas area. The development will support already established businesses in the area along with any future brownfield developments within the vicinity.’

The Treasury Minister continued:

‘Extensive collaboration and stakeholder engagement with both public and private organisations continues to be undertaken, to refine what is required to ensure the best outcome, both financially and in terms of providing key public facilities that are currently lacking. This project exemplifies MDC’s purpose, to be a catalyst for the positive transformation of the Island’s urban landscape for the benefit of all Manx Citizens. Further information and a public consultation about this project are planned for the coming months.

Today marks an important milestone as we confirm substantial private sector appetite for regeneration, supported by the Island Infrastructure Scheme and complementing Government’s own plans through MDC for the Lower Douglas area.’