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'Building a Douglas fit for the Future' theme of Mayor's annual business lunch

Tuesday, 09 April 2019 11:22

‘Building a Douglas fit for the Future’ was the theme of the Mayor’s annual business lunch hosted by His Worship the Mayor Councillor Jonathan Joughin JP at Douglas Town Hall on Friday April 5.


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Addressing more than 60 guests gathered in the Council Chamber His Worship said that recent proposals for ‘ambitious new developments’ represented a vote of confidence in Douglas, the Isle of Man and in the Manx economy.


050419-DBC-060 MediumDavid Mylchreest, His Worship the Mayor, Council Leader David Christian MBE JP and Councillor Karen Angela


Among developments he outlined were plans for a £25 million leisure and residential scheme on the site of the former Lord Street bus station and proposals for the Milestone site on Peel Road of which, despite concerns over traffic management, the Council was ‘largely supportive’.


050419-DBC-082 MediumBill Mummery, Seamus Nugent and Keith Lord


The regeneration of Douglas promenade - a scheme in which the Council would be investing £864,000 in new bespoke lighting - and the prospect of a defined ‘cultural zone’ with the Villa/Gaiety complex at its centre, along with the sales of the Castle Mona and Villiers site and the soon-to-open Premier Inn in Market Street were also ‘causes for measured celebration’ and optimism he said.


050419-DBC-048 MediumMark Rossiter and John Window


His Worship went on to say that if Douglas were to become a powerhouse of opportunity and enterprise, then its image must not be compromised by vacant lots being used as car parks. ‘The Douglas of the future must have more purpose-built secure car parks serving not only the business community but also shoppers and visitors,’ he said.


050419-DBC-044 MediumThe Council's finance director Antony Boyd, extreme left and environment and regeneration director Dana Enyon, second right, with Tim Cowsill, Steve Moore and Jo Pretty


Expanding on the theme for the day His Worship said that building a Douglas fit for the future was not only about ‘bricks and mortar or shiny steel and glass developments’, it was also about building partnerships between central and local government, the business sector and the local community, safeguarding the capital’s heritage and protecting, promoting and enhancing the town’s green spaces.


050419-DBC-004 MediumHis Worship and Alan Clague


Turning to environmental matters he said that to create a better Douglas it was important to encourage civic pride and implement measures to combat antisocial behaviour. ‘The Council alone cannot create a cleaner, greener, safer town. This is a community problem that demands a community response,’ he said.


 050419-DBC-014 MediumPaul Marsden and Niall Carey


Turning to developing new and diverse skills that would serve as ‘the building blocks for economic prosperity’ His Worship went on to refer to University College Isle of Man’s new Services to Business (S2B) initiative. This was, he explained, ‘a series of training programmes designed to respond to businesses’ changing skill set requirements, support new models of working and encourage entrepreneurial thinking.’


050419-DBC-036 MediumDavid Hudson and Craig Drummond


In closing His Worship issued a call to action, saying: ‘We must work together towards unlocking the potential of our town. Towards building a Douglas fit for purpose and fit for the future.’


050419-DBC-051 MediumJuan Turner and Justin McMullin