Chief Minister Alfred Cannan MHK has said he welcomes the redevelopment of three prominent brownfield sites following the recent announcement of £50 million in private sector investment.
The planned redevelopment of the Villiers and Lake Road sites in Douglas and the Ocean Castle site in Port Erin was unveiled at last week’s Government Conference. It followed approval in principle from Government for financial support for their regeneration through the new Island Infrastructure Scheme.
Under the scheme, the Government can provide up to 25% of the costs of the redevelopment – excluding land costs – which is only payable upon the completion.
The Chief Minister said:
'At the start of this administration, we recognised the importance of vibrancy in our towns and villages and the role this plays in both retaining and attracting people and investment to our Island.
'There are several brownfield sites which have blighted parts of our Island for too long, with prominent areas of our capital in particular crying out for regeneration. Many of these sites are not financially viable for redevelopment by the private sector alone meaning they have sat vacant for a long time – some of them for decades.
'It was clear to the Council of Ministers that a shift in policy was needed if this situation was ever going to change. The commercial viability for some sites was simply not there without some form of intervention.
'Targeted investment from Government – only paid after completion of any developments – could be enough to tip the balance and spur regeneration. This will not only generate an overall positive economic return through the development phase, but also for many years to come.'
The Chief Minister added:
'Whilst this is new for the Island, it is not an unusual approach elsewhere with many towns and cities across the UK benefiting for targeted regeneration funds to leverage private sector investment.
'Tynwald supported the Scheme in November 2022 with the Island Infrastructure Scheme launched in January this year, and I am pleased that we already have agreement in principle to support the redevelopment of these first three sites. I hope this is the beginning of a wider process of breathing new life into our towns and villages and helping our communities to thrive.'
The Chief Minister continued:
'The availability and affordability of housing remains a key issue in our community, and addressing this is a priority for the Government. The development of these sites will see almost 100 new homes created, supporting Government’s ambition to have 1,000 additional occupied homes by the end of 2026.
'The redevelopment projects will also boost our construction sector, creating jobs and serving as a catalyst for further regeneration and economic growth.'