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Villa Marina Arcade plans on display 21 September 2006

Members of the public are being invited to view the £4.5 million scheme for the redevelopment of the Villa Marina Arcade on Wednesday 27th September in the Ivy Benson Bar at the Villa Marina from 12pm to 7pm, prior to presentation of the scheme to the October sitting of Tynwald.

Restoration of the Arcade follows on from the main Villa Marina refurbishment which was successfully completed and opened in April 2004 to widespread public acclaim. For the Arcade, the Department has retained the same design team, headed by Ellis Brown, architects, as engaged on the Villa Marina project.

Tourism and Leisure Minister David Cretney explained:

‘In putting forward the scheme for the Arcade, I have sought to give the Arcade the prominence it deserves as the pivotal link between the Villa Marina and Gardens and the Gaiety Theatre which adjoin the Arcade. Whilst retaining the historic and architectural features of the Arcade, we are seeking to create a high quality internal environment which will enhance the whole Villa Marina and Gaiety Theatre Complex.’
‘I am fortunate to have been able to progress a number of major schemes during the last decade, on time and within budget - including the NSC and Villa Marina which have proved vital in providing the Island with high quality attractions and facilities for the benefit of residents and visitors alike. I am continually seeking new opportunities for Leisure on the Island, and hope that my Department’s track record will encourage further investment.’

The Minister added:

‘My colleague Eddie Lowey MLC, Chairman of Leisure Division, has been working hard to bring the Arcade project to fruition - the redeveloped Arcade will comprise a multi purpose performance area, a café/bar which will open out into the landscaped Gardens, refurbished toilets and new disabled toilets, retail space, as well as the installation of the Wurlitzer organ. A key feature which I held as a priority from the outset, is the creation of a link through the Arcade to the Gaiety which allows much improved access to the Theatre for those with disabilities. The replacement of the last section of the Colonnade as well as replacement of the barrelled roof also forms a major part of the works. The installation of doorways to the front and rear of the Arcade will also ensure that the building becomes much more welcoming, even in the midst of winter!
Building on our success in restoring the Colonnade and the Villa Marina itself, I am delighted that the Department has been able to progress the restoration of the Arcade, which is long overdue. I am confident everyone will be delighted with this final piece of the refurbishment of the Villa Marina and Gaiety Theatre site, and I hope as many people as possible will take the opportunity to view the final plans.’

Subject to Tynwald approval, work will commence on site in November 2006 with completion scheduled for Spring/Summer 2008.

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