Douglas Promenades Highway Improvement Scheme (2016-2021)

Statement issued by IOM Department of Infrastructure on 2 September 2015:

Revised Promenade proposals to go on display at Sea Terminal

Revised plans for the redevelopment of Douglas Promenade will be on public display at the Sea Terminal from Friday 04 September.

People are encouraged to view the proposals, which are aimed at delivering a wide range of social, cultural and economic benefits for the Isle of Man, as well as much-needed improvements to the highway, footways and drainage.

The unmanned display will be in place until Monday 28 September to promote awareness of the positive changes that have been made to the original design.

The Department of Infrastructure submitted amended planning drawings on 28 August to further enhance road safety and to provide additional space on the Promenade walkway for leisure users.

The revised scheme proposes a repositioning of the horse tram tracks on the section of Promenade between the War Memorial and Queen’s Gardens. A single track will be installed almost entirely where the pavement currently runs, adjacent to the road along Harris, Central and Queen’s Promenades. This will provide an increased walkway width of between 8.2 metres (minimum) and 13.1 metres (maximum), compared with current widths of 5.8 metres to 8.5 metres.

The enhanced design will also include signal controlled pedestrian crossings at Granville Street, Castle Mona Avenue and at Marathon Terrace opposite Queen’s Gardens to assist all vulnerable users, including blind and partially sighted people. Zebra-style controlled crossings will be introduced at other locations and small changes made to the position and layout of the roundabout at Summerhill.

The new planning application will be available to view on the Government website from Friday 04 September and will trigger a further 21-day period for people to submit their views to the Planning Office at the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.

Representations made in connection with the original design will still be taken into account during consideration of the revised scheme. People who wish to change their formal submissions in light of the amended proposals are encouraged to do so, as this will assist the independent planning inspector in his deliberations.

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said: ‘I hope that repositioning the horse tram track, widening the walkway area and introducing controlled crossings will address the main concerns that people expressed in relation to the original planning application. The design team has assessed a range of options and our preferred scheme is the only one that ticks all the boxes in terms of the overall vision, objectives and safety guidelines for the redevelopment of Douglas Promenade.’

He added: ‘I hope as many people as possible will view the display at the Sea Terminal to get an insight into what we are trying to achieve. The Department has listened to feedback from the public, businesses and special interest groups and incorporated a number of suggestions in its new planning drawings.’



Statement issued by IOM Department of Infrastructure on 26 August 2015:

Compelling reasons to move horse trams off the Promenade highway

The Department of Infrastructure says there are compelling reasons to support its proposal to move the horse tram tracks off the Douglas Promenade highway as part of the overall redevelopment scheme.

The Department has noted the response to a poll conducted by the Manx Independent asking readers to vote on what should happen to the horse trams.

Options to keep the horse trams on the highway, either in the centre or on the seaward side of the road, have been considered by the Department. They were amongst a number of designs to be discounted as they failed to meet the overall vision, objectives and safety guidelines for the Promenade refurbishment.

The Department will submit amended planning drawings this week incorporating a single horse tram track located almost entirely where the pavement currently runs adjacent to the road along Harris, Central and Queen’s Promenades. This will increase the area of the walkway by approximately 2,700 square metres, inclusive of the tram corridor.

The enhanced scheme will also include controlled pedestrian crossings to assist all vulnerable users, including blind and partially sighted people.

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said: "The Department has assessed a vast range of redevelopment options and listened to feedback from the public, businesses and special interest groups. We believe our preferred design represents the best long-term solution to create an improved economic, cultural and social environment." 

He added: "People feel passionately about the horse trams, both for and against, and the location of the tracks has generated a lot of discussion. We have spoken to the operators of the horse trams about various issues and believe the trams can be safely operated in their proposed new location. This option will also enable us to minimise disruption to the horse tram service, to enhance pedestrian movements between the retail area and the Promenade, to improve the general appearance of the Promenade and maximise available on-street car parking."

The option to retain the tram tracks in the middle of the highway would fall short of achieving many of the key objectives for the Promenade, including -

  • Failing to address safety concerns regarding passengers boarding and exiting horse trams across a busy highway
  • Failing to address traffic flow issues caused by vehicles getting stuck behind horse trams
  • Restricting the opportunity to improve the layout of major junctions along the Promenade
  • Failing to contribute to the Central Douglas Masterplan
  • Missing the opportunity to create a Cultural Quarter and improve the walkway and footpaths
  • Missing the opportunity to enhance the viability, vitality and appearance of the Promenade
  • Current rail safety guidance requires a wider tram corridor than the existing arrangements. This would further restrict the available space to improve pedestrian footways and parking facilities
  • The scheme would disrupt the horse tram service for up to 5 years during construction

Additionally, locating the horse trams on the seaward side of the highway would result in the loss of approximately 200 (37%) on-street parking spaces, which are used intensively by the public. The loss of convenient parking for customers would be detrimental to the retail and hospitality sectors of the economy.

Minister Gawne said: "The Department has taken on board people’s comments over many months and the strong message coming through now is that Douglas Promenade is in urgent need of redevelopment and we need to crack on and make this happen."




Copies of the updated (Sept 2015) design plans for each of the nine sections of Douglas promenades can be viewed by selecting the links below


File nameDescriptionSizeRev.TimeUser
SelectionFile type iconFile nameDescriptionSizeRevisionTimeUser
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Sea Terminal to Regent Street  1048k v. 2 2 Sep 2015, 08:35 Friends of DBHT
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Regent Street to Granville Street  1037k v. 2 2 Sep 2015, 08:35 Friends of DBHT
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Granville Street to War Memorial  1072k v. 2 2 Sep 2015, 08:36 Friends of DBHT
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War Memorial to Esplanade  1038k v. 2 2 Sep 2015, 08:37 Friends of DBHT
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Esplanade to Empress Drive   910k v. 2 2 Sep 2015, 08:38 Friends of DBHT
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Empress Drive to Palace Hotel  856k v. 2 2 Sep 2015, 08:38 Friends of DBHT
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Palace Hotel to Little Switzerland  860k v. 2 2 Sep 2015, 08:39 Friends of DBHT
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Little Switzerland to Summer Hill  883k v. 2 2 Sep 2015, 08:40 Friends of DBHT
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Summer Hill to Strathallan Crescent  967k v. 2 2 Sep 2015, 08:40 Friends of DBHT