Douglas could lose as many as 300 car parking spaces in the short to medium term as redevelopment plans for the capital take shape.
It had already been confirmed that the promenade scheme would see about 130 parking spaces lost. However, developments scheduled for the Lord Street site could see that figure more than double, at least in the short term.
Under the plans for Douglas promenade, the sea front would lose about 130 car parking spaces to leave it with a total of 543 spaces along its approximately 1.8 mile stretch.
The promenade will also have eight coach spaces, 17 bus stops, with seven lay-by stops and 10 in line with the carriageway, 33 taxi spaces over seven ranks, five loading bays and 14 control crossings, comprising five puffin and nine zebra crossings.
The MyProm website has noted that the ‘design philosophy was approved for the betterment of all users’. But the promenade work is not the only major development in the capital. Plans for Lord Street, which are yet to be approved by planners, are for a hotel, shops, cafes, cinema and multi-storey car park.
The 180 spaces in Lord Street would be replaced with the proposed 198 spaces in the multi-storey car park, although the spaces would be lost in the short term during construction.
While the work on the promenade is being carried out, the MyProm team has said there will still be availability of parking within Douglas, and rejected calls from businesses on Queen’s Promenade to utilise the walkway at the north end of the promenade.
The team said: ‘Parking on the northern end of the walkway cannot be permitted as it is too narrow for pedestrians and traffic.
‘Parking remains available in the various car parks around Douglas, with Chester Street offering free parking from 3pm.’
Further parking provision appears to be being made available as the Department of Infrastructure has confirmed that applications have been made to introduce temporary parking on the Summerland site and to utilise the Christmas parking on the promenade from the War Memorial to the Bottleneck car park.
However, business owners including Melody Crosby from New Manilla last week told the Manx Independent that parking there is ‘too far’ away from her business which is based at the bottom of Switzerland Road. Aside from the promenade works, Douglas Borough Council has previously discussed the idea of demolishing Chester Street car park and/or building a new car park in Douglas,
Chester Street can hold 742 vehicles with 236 short stay parking spaces, 250 long stay spaces and 256 contracted and government spaces split over its nine levels.
In May last year, Councillor Ritchie McNicholl called for the car park to be demolished as, being more than 40 years old, it is no longer fit for purpose.
However at the May 8 sitting of the House of Keys, DoI Minister Ray Harmer MHK said his department, which owns the car park, had ‘no current plans to replace the much-needed parking facility’. The waters were further muddied when the leader of Douglas Council, David Christian, said that the council along with the DoI and Department for Enterprise were considering a new car park in Market Street.
While admitting that funding could be problem for the plan, Mr Christian said the council and departments had to be ‘big enough and bold enough’ to make the investment.
However, when the Manx Independent contacted Mr Christian regarding progress in the plan, he said: ‘Unfortunately there has not been a lot of movement as discussion is complicated involving several parties and the willingness of Government to possibly use compulsory purchase.’
Source: IOM Today