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Agreement Reached on Villa Marina 23 January 2004

The Department of Local Government and the Environment and the Douglas Corporation have reached agreement on the level of compensation to be paid by the Isle of Man Government to the Corporation in respect of the Villa Marina Complex.

The Villa Marina Complex, that is the Villa Marina Royal Hall, the Arcade, Gardens and Colonade, were acquired by Isle of Man Government from the Douglas Corporation under the terms of the Villa Marina Act 1999. The ownership transferred to Isle of Man Government with effect from 14th March 2000. Since then, there have been ongoing discussions and negotiations, including a referral to the Chancery Court, in order to arrive at a settlement acceptable to both parties. An independent Arbitrator had been appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and a preliminary hearing had been set down for later this month. However, following a meeting between the Minister of the Department of Local Government and the Environment, the Hon. Pamela M Crowe, MLC, and the leader of the Douglas Town Council, Councillor David Christian, JP, an agreed proposal was presented to the Town Council by Councillor Christian at a Special Meeting held on 14th January 2004. This proposal, in essence, was that Isle of Man Government would pay the Douglas Corporation £750,000 in full and final settlement in respect of the Villa Marina Complex, subject to Treasury and Tynwald approval.

Councillor Christian said,

“I am pleased that the Minister and I have drawn this matter to a satisfactory conclusion. All that remains now is for Tynwald approval to be secured by the Department and for a final legal agreement between the Department and the Corporation to be drafted and executed. The Corporation looks forward to promoting and using the refurbished Villa Marina Complex."

The Minister stated,

“I am glad that Councillor Christian and I have been able to reach a negotiated settlement in relation to this matter. The parties have agreed that it is not in the interests of ratepayers and tax payers that further costs should be incurred as would be the case if this matter were to proceed to a full arbitrational hearing. Consequently, the agreement reached is regarded as fair to both parties and being in the best interests of the people of Douglas and the public generally. In a few months’ time the Complex, restored and improved by the Department of Tourism & Leisure at a cost of over £15m, will be available to all. I intend to seek the approval of Tynwald at its February sitting for a Supplementary Vote in order to be able to pay the compensation at the earliest possible date after the agreement has been duly executed."

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