The residents of Ramsey are being asked for their views on a £40m proposal for a key gateway site on the edge of the town centre.
The Sulby Riverside development will lift the western entrance to the town by providing new retail opportunities, workspaces, homes, three public parks and a riverside gastro-pub with function rooms.
After considerable time spent refining the proposal in collaboration with local planners, the public is being asked for its views on the masterplan before it is formally proposed to the authorities.
“This is a unique opportunity to boost Ramsey’s appeal as a place to live, work and visit and we’re very keen to hear the views of residents and local businesses,” said Laxey resident Nathan Church, who is part of a consortium of investors behind the proposals.
The Sulby Riverside site is bounded by Gardeners’ Lane to the west, Poyll Dooey Road to the south, the town centre to the east and the River Sulby to the north.
“The homes are a mix of townhouses, apartments and larger semi- and detached houses,” explained Mr Church. “They’re designed for local people’s needs, evidenced by the significant investment proposed into community facilities such as the park, play equipment and a multi-sports pitch.”
Mr Church says the development will help Ramsey fulfil its housing and economic growth needs without encroaching on the local green belt.
“One of the things that drew us to the location was the fact that it knits together the town centre with the emerging communities beyond Gardeners’ Lane to the west. Our consultants have been able to show that the existing local infrastructure and road network will comfortably cope with the additional demands with the added benefit that the new primary access road will take pressure off Gardeners Lane during the annual Isle of Man TT.”
An online public consultation has now been launched to enable local people to review the proposals and put forward their views.
“The online consultation allows people the freedom to leave their ideas and express their views.” explained Mr Church.
Interested parties can also use the consultation website – www.sulbyriverside.im – to register for and attend an online ‘questions and answers’ session with the project design team. This will be held at 6.30pm on Monday 6thDecember.
“We’d love for people to join us for a chat and provide us with constructive feedback,” said Mr Church.
The proposals, worth £40m when developed, will help to sustain employment in the local building supply chain and generate hundreds of thousands of pounds per year in new rateable income available to invest in public services. Local retailers and tradesmen will benefit from the additional spending that new developments typically generate as new home-owners ‘make their house a home’. Research suggests this averages approximately £5,000 per household.
“People invest in everything from carpets to major appliances, furniture and decoration when they move house and much of that can be expected to be with local retailers and trades people.” said Mr Church.
Site masterplanner and founder of BACA Architects, Richard Coutts, says: “At its heart, the Sulby Riverside development is about place-making. We’re opening a site that has been unavailable to the public for many years and organising a new residential community around three play areas that will connect to existing public footpaths and trails, the revitalised railway line to the south and the riverside walk.
“The site has been sensitively laid out. We have worked closely with local ecologists and arboriculturists to protect the clusters of existing mature trees and we have holistically augmented and enhanced the landscape. This landscape proposal will adorn streets with trees, adding to the site’s ecological richness. A small parade of shops, likely to consist of a newsagent, café, creche and hairdressers will greet visitors as they arrive from the Poyll Dooey Road.
“The new spine road will provide a much-needed connection between existing settlements to the east and west of the site. Additionally, the scheme provides high quality employment units to the north of the spine road. Each has front of house parking for visitors and service parking behind. With double height glazed frontages these units will provide modern facilities fit for the challenges of modern business.
“Detailed studies have been carried out to ensure that the urban design layout and building designs will ensure that the development is safe from flooding today and in the future. Subtle modifications to the landscape within the site will also mean better flood protection to Poyll Dooey Road”.
Mr Coutts says that the design team is proposing that all the homes are designed to use the latest in energy-efficient methods and that the landscape proposals include ‘considerable investment’ in enhancing the site’s bio-diversity. “The architecture is high quality, personable and friendly. Collectively, the design proposals breathe life into a forgotten corner of Ramsey by creating a place where people will enjoy living and working,” he added.