The main Douglas regeneration scheme is about to get underway and will include quality stone paving, new lighting, benches and planting to deliver a public environment befitting the Island’s capital.
Douglas is already enjoying the benefits of the first phases of regeneration work in Nelson Street and Wellington Street, where the finishing touches will soon be added.
The main Douglas town centre works are scheduled to begin during the week of 3 March 2013, running until 15 November 2013 having been approved by the Chief Minister’s Regeneration Steering Group. The works will focus on Regent Street, Drumgold Street and Regent Street to Victoria Street. Currently the paving in these busy thoroughfares is uneven, of poor quality, and does not support our retailers and businesses.
This transformation will serve to revitalise the retail area of Douglas and in doing so will help to support economic investment in the town, encourage increased visitor numbers, enhance civic pride, improve public accessibility and reflect the Island’s reputation as a world class business centre. All of these benefits will assist in supporting the growth of our economy.
The scheme will bring the town centre into the 21st Century and will make it a much more attractive place to visit. Unfortunately, the slab which sits below the surface is in very poor condition and requires replacement before re-surfacing can take place.
At the same time the service providers are taking the opportunity either to upgrade their existing service and/or make provision for the future with new ducting/supplies. These factors add to the cost and timescale of the works but are essential in ensuring that the new surfacing will be a long lasting investment.
The regeneration work will be undertaken using two work gangs, working 15 hour shifts, 6 days per week (excluding Saturdays) in order to speed the project up as much as possible.
Hon David Cretney MHK and Chairman of the Douglas Regeneration Committee, said: ‘I am pleased that the main section of the works for Douglas are about to start. These works are vital in ensuring the long-term vitality of Douglas town centre. The main shopping streets haven’t been updated in more than 25 years and it shows. If we do nothing, there will be further decline which will serve to undermine the hard work of our retailers, for whom the current economic climate is proving very difficult. It is essential that the public continues to support our businesses throughout the regeneration works. Businesses will be open as usual and once completed the transformation of the shopping area will make for a much improved public realm.’
He added: ‘The road to success will inevitably bring with it disruption to normal everyday life. However, this will be relatively short-term and the work schedule will try to minimise upheaval and will avoid the busy Christmas period. The project team will work with businesses to ensure that the works happen as quickly as possible with the minimum level of interruption to retailers. Lessons learned from the pilot scheme tell us that communication is key and to that end the project team will endeavour to keep businesses up to date and as always we welcome your feedback.’