Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway (FoDBHT) are disappointed with the Department of Infrastructure (DOI) proposal to prepare and submit a new planning application for the refurbishment of Loch Promenade (between the Sea Terminal and the War Memorial), which ‘will not include any provision for horse tram tracks, either in the carriageway or on the Loch Promenade Walkway’.
Instead, should the long-term future of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway be secured, ‘the intention is for the service to terminate opposite the Villa Marina Colonnade.’ This would be covered by a separate new planning application for a ‘tramway corridor’ alongside the roadway between Strathallan Crescent and the War Memorial.
Whilst we welcome the fact that the future of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is still being considered by the Government, FoDBHT feel that there is a better way forward, both to maintain the value of the historic tramway and for the refurbishment of Loch Promenade in general.
Our recent submission to the Government-led Horse Tram Review Committee considered the benefits of relaying and operating an initial shortened section from Strathallan to the Villa Marina / War Memorial, but with the option of then extending along Loch Promenade at a later date when the new tramway operator was in place and its operation secure. Avoiding the IRIS tanks would significantly reduce the relay costs.
The findings of the Planning Inspector’s report went against the idea of relocating the tramway onto the Walkway, and we have been told by the DOI that there is a pressing need to repair the road surface of Loch Promenade which continues to deteriorate.
FoDBHT would therefore ask the DOI to re-visit their earlier plan for Loch Promenade which was granted planning permission in December 2012. Work proposed under planning application 12/01327/B made provision for a tramway corridor (shown in green in figure 1) between the roadway and the Sunken Gardens (and on no part of the Promenade Walkway). Even if the track was not laid immediately, the tramway could be returned to its original full length in future without major disruption and expense. The current number of parking spaces on Loch Promenade would also be retained as part of the plan and the Promenade Walkway would be retained in its current format.
Re-visiting a scheme that has already received planning approval and which seemingly meets most of the needs of stakeholders would seem to be the most obvious solution. It would save on further expense and time re-designing yet another set of proposals for Loch Promenade, at a time when the work is long overdue and the general public are keen to see it commence.
FoDBHT have contacted the Department of Infrastructure to request a meeting to discuss any new proposals for Loch Promenade.
Figure 1: Loch Promenade scheme proposed under planning application 12/01327/B. The tramway corridor is highlighted in green.
(Credit: Department of Infrastructure)
29 March 2016