The leader of Douglas Council has said members are ’broadly supportive’ of the latest plans to revamp the capital’s promenades and upgrade the highway.
The government’s Department of Infrastructure this week unveiled a £20.73 million scheme which will see not only reconstruction of the road but a remodelling of the surrounding area and infrastructure.
David Christian said: ’The council is pleased that the promenade’s long overdue re-construction finally looks set to begin next year. The proposal submitted reflects the positive working relationship the council has enjoyed latterly with the Department of Infrastructure and I congratulate the Minister and his team on preparing a scheme where all those concerned have been willing to accept compromises.’
Subject to Tynwald approval, the scheme will start in September 2018.
It will feature twin horse tram tracks in the centre of the highway from Strathallan to Castle Mona Avenue, switching to a single track on the seaward side, ending near the Sea Terminal.
This is complemented by a new design for the southern section of the promenade, which will include a cultural area to be created by the Villa Marina and Gaiety Theatre.
Councillor Christian added: ’There are, however, some design elements the council would have preferred to be incorporated; principally the use of granite for the full length of the promenade rather than just to Castle Mona Avenue.
’The council does, however, welcome the provisions being made for cyclists and the proposals to improve traffic flow at Broadway and Greensills Corner.
’Importantly, the council offers its overwhelming support for the creation of the cultural zone, which will substantially enhance the area and provide a versatile community space that will lead into what will be a regenerated Castle Street, where work is due to commence in April 2018.’
The council intends to give its support to the regeneration project as well as investing in it, Councillor Christian said.
Complementary work by the council would, he said, include looking at how best to revitalise or replace shelters, kiosks and other fixtures. He said the council would also investigate how to develop a bespoke lighting scheme which would enhance the seafront area.
’The council shares the department’s vision that Douglas promenade should project a positive, welcoming and open-for-business image.
’This scheme is set to transform that vision into a reality and create a landmark gateway into the capital of our island of which we and generations to come can be proud,’ he said.