The Isle of Man combines beautiful unspoilt scenery with a thriving economy which has enjoyed more than 30 years of continued economic growth. Around half of the Island’s 85,000 population live within three miles of Douglas harbour and the majority of the remaining economically active work there. For all the open space on the Isle of Man, Douglas has a shortage.
Douglas has a wonderful promenade walkway which sweeps around Douglas bay. Although built during the Victorian tourist boom it has been used in increasing numbers by residents including walkers, runners and cyclists for fitness, families who enjoy free use of the space, children learn to ride bikes, dog walkers abound, parents push prams, there are roller skaters too and many other types of users. If it was build in the modern era it would surely be hailed as a masterpiece in improving our lifestyles by providing a wide open expanse so close to where we live and work.
The Isle of Man has planning policies that protect open space and conserve important areas. The present and recent governments have policies to encourage recreation and to attract more residents to the island. Yet its own Department of Infrastructure introduced car parking on Loch Promenade for 6 months between November 2014 and April 2015. Immediately thereafter it announced plans to run the horse trams along the whole of the walkway. Every plan for the walkway demonstrated a lack of understanding for the welfare of its users and for planning law. On 12 May 2015 a campaign began to keep both cars and horse trams off the walkway.
Following a three day public inquiry in November 2015, an independent planning inspector recommended to the Council of Ministers on 31 January 2016 that the planning application should be rejected. It was not until 22 March 2016 that the Cabinet Office revealed that the application had been rejected. Here is what we said on the morning of the announcement when we knew it was imminent – read the most popular of all our Facebook posts here.
This website will be retained as a permanent record of a dreadfully flawed planning application to which a record number of people objected and as a reference source should there be any further attempts to destroy the promenade walkway’s amenity value.