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New Conservation Areas Announced 26 August 2003

The Department of Local Government and the Environment is pleased to announce that, following extensive consultation, it has recently confirmed Conservation Area Orders covering extensive parts of Douglas, in addition to St Mark's Village in Malew.

In Spring of 2003, the Department hosted Open House Events to enable those who might be affected by the proposal to create new Conservation Areas, to gain a better understanding of the process. These events were well-attended and very well-received, with the overwhelming majority of views received being supportive of the idea.

Minister for the Department of Local Government and the Environment, the Hon Pamela M Crowe, MLC., explained,

"encouraged by the generally supportive responses received, the Department has determined to proceed with all of the various areas as drafted. This marks a further important milestone on the route to securing the future of the Island's historic built environment."

Bill Henderson MHK., Chairman of the Planning Committee and Member of the Department with responsibility for Conservation, points out that,

"the measure will enable significant grant assistance to be available to support the conservation of a sector of the Island's buildings which deserve special consideration. The Department operates a grant scheme which is focussed upon assisting owners to improve and enhance the quality and appearance of properties which form an important part of our heritage."

The Department is conscious that, whilst Douglas has, overall, a unique and cohesive architectural character, there is also distinctive variety between one part of the town and another. Consequently, six separate Orders have been made, each of which is accompanied by its own Character Appraisal. In due course, it is anticipated that consideration will also be given to a Conservation Area covering the commercial part of the town.

In the case of St Mark's, the Island has a unique and largely unspoiled village centred on the Church, Church Cottages and former Schoolrooms, which are Registered Buildings. The Conservation Area Order is an opportunity to preserve and enhance not only this distinguished collection of rural buildings, but also their context and setting within the Manx countryside.

Director of Planning and Building Control, Ian McCauley confirmed,

"Seven designations represent a notable addition to the existing ten established areas. The measure does not preclude development within these areas, but justifies closer scrutiny and greater control, which is aimed at high quality and sensitive schemes."

The Minister concluded,

"The Order will come into effect on the 1st September 2003 and I am confident that the time is right for these areas to be recognised for their special architectural and historic value. This will ensure that they are safeguarded and improved for the benefit of present and future residents, as well as visitors to our shores."

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