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Department of Transport renovate the Tower of Refuge 18 July 2006

Essential repair works have already been carried out and are continuing to the Tower of Refuge . The Department of Transport is making good progress with the first phase of its long term programme of repairs that will ensure the structural integrity of this popular Douglas landmark for the foreseeable future.

After concerns were expressed about the condition of the structure it proved necessary to determine who actually owned the Tower and the Conister Rock. This issue was resolved following thorough searches made by Douglas Corporation’s advocates and the Attorney General’s Chambers, when it was ascertained that Conister Rock and the Tower of Refuge are vested in the Department of Transport via Acts of Tynwald and Parliament dating from 1872 and 1890.

The Department’s Design Services Division carried out a structural survey of the Tower in January this year and confirmed that that condition of the Tower was relatively good considering the exposed nature of the site. The structural survey prescribed an appropriate ongoing maintenance programme to allow early identification of future structural defects. The report also advised that there were some immediate repairs necessary, which prompted the work to start on site last month.

The Department’s Properties Division is in charge of this project and has identified a programme of repairs for this year and beyond. The tasks to be completed this year include the repair to the missing section of masonry at the rear of the main tower and further masonry work above the main entrance. A new door and frame will be fitted to the main tower on the first floor and the steps leading to it will be completely rebuilt. Repairs to the landing area are also required. Further, remedial work will be undertaken in 2007/08 with annual preventative maintenance thereafter.

Rodney Christopher, Director of Properties at the Department of Transport comments

“Work is progressing well on Conister Rock, the good weather has certainly helped us to keep on schedule. We are grateful to our colleagues at Douglas Corporation who initially alerted us to the condition of the Tower and are happy to maintain such an important Manx landmark as part of the Department’s property portfolio. The programme of remedial work will maintain the fabric of the building for everyone to enjoy for many years to come.”

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