THE regeneration of Laxey has moved a step closer this week with the submission of a planning application for significant improvements to the tram station, rose garden and square.
The area around the tram station and rose garden in the centre of Laxey has long been a hub of activity for visitors arriving by the Manx Electric Railway or by coach.
Iconic station buildings, rail lines and trams, framed by a woodland setting on one side and a rose garden on the other, combine to create a unique place. Tram station equipment and pedestrian safety are due to be enhanced and an opportunity has been taken by the Department of Community Culture and Leisure, and the owners of the station and rose garden to work with the Laxey Regeneration Committee to improve the whole area.
The Department has submitted a planning application for proposals to enhance the visual appeal of the tram station and rose garden. The aim is to create a more attractive and usable Whitehouse Square, to make the area more accessible for all abilities, to increase safety for pedestrians, and to bring more light into the area.
The preparation of the application has taken many months and has involved the Commissioners, Church, Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust, Manx Wildlife Trust, foresters from the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture and local business people.
Steve Rodan, Chairman of the Laxey Regeneration Committee said: ‘The Committee has worked very hard with the Department to bring forward this major regeneration proposal for Laxey. The public told us in the regeneration consultation that their top priorities were creating a public square and smartening up Laxey. I believe the proposed improvements will greatly improve Laxey and bring more people here to stay longer.’
Tim Crookall, Minister for Department of Community, Culture and Leisure said: ‘Laxey Tram Station is one of our top tourist attractions and the hub of the Manx Electric Railway and the Snaefell Mountain Railway. The station needed essential improvements and we have been delighted to work with the Regeneration Committee to add value to the essentials and create a more attractive area.’
Improved pedestrian walkways are proposed within the station in order to improve safety, while some minor adjustments to the layout of the tram lines are proposed. Diseased trees will be removed, some saplings will be thinned and the canopy of some trees will be raised to allow more light and air through the trees to encourage healthier growth. The tram station buildings will remain intact.
The rose garden will be improved for pedestrians with a more accessible walkway linking the Mines Road to Whitehouse Square, bringing locals and visitors safely into the retail centre and the improved entrance to the tram station.
The square itself is proposed to be extended, levelled and repaved, with an information point and an opportunity for the creation of some public art. The quality paving and materials for the walkways in the station, rose garden and square will be provided through support from the Town and Village Centre Regeneration Fund.
The proposed improvements are part of the Regeneration Masterplan, the first phase of which focused on the village’s retail area. Five commercial property owners and lease holders have been successful in securing funding from the Town and Village Regeneration Fund to improve the appearance of their buildings. Further phases of regeneration include improvements to the coach stopping area at Mines Road and improvements to the footways.
The detailed proposals have been developed by Dalrymples Associates for the Department of Community Culture and Leisure and the Laxey Regeneration Committee, a partnership between the Isle of Man Government, Laxey Commissioners and private enterprise.