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Douglas Promenade - Highway Improvement Scheme Issues and Options 8 October 2010

The Department of Infrastructure is preparing an ‘Issues and options’ document to seek the public’s views on proposals to refurbish Douglas Promenade.

Whilst capital funding is in short supply in the present economic climate, the Government still needs to invest in our basic infrastructure. The last major reconstruction of Douglas Promenade took place in the 1930s, when Loch Promenade was rebuilt and a new sea wall created. As well as being the gateway to the Isle of Man for many visitors, it is also an important strategic route.

Minister for Infrastructure Phil Gawne MHK said:

Douglas Promenade has served the capital well for more than 70 years without any major maintenance or refurbishment. But it is reaching the end of its serviceable life and I think everyone would agree that it is beginning to detract from the quality of the street scene.'
‘The road surface is uneven and badly cracked and it gives a shabby and downtrodden first impression to visitors. In contrast, Douglas Corporation’s sunken gardens are still popular during the summer and continue to be maintained to a high standard.’

The Minister said:

‘The question is, of course, what’s the best solution to address the situation, given the current economic climate? One option would be to undertake a minimal maintenance job on a like-for-like basis, but another view is that we should take the opportunity to adjust the layout slightly or perhaps even consider more ambitious changes.’

Accordingly, the Department wants to engage with the public to understand their wider views and expectations for the promenade, looking at issues such as whether there is enough parking or too much parking, the need for increased soft landscaping and street furniture, the quality of materials to be used, etc. The other major consideration is the horse trams, and whether the tracks should be relocated, for example between the highway and the sunken gardens.

‘There are other, more ambitious conceptual options which would need additional funding and these are not being ruled out but we need to understand the level of public support before we develop any such plans. Even if we receive strong support for improvements it will be at least a few years before we can begin any significant work on the promenade. Various planning, design, services and work programming issues would need to be properly assessed and of course the important issue of how this might fit in with overall priorities for the people we represent has got to be addressed’ said Mr Gawne.
‘We very much hope that people will share their views and ideas with us. A separate announcement about the issues and options document will follow in due course, hopefully within the next couple of months.’

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