Sulby Riverside planning application submitted

£40m scheme to providemajor boost’ to Ramsey town centre 

Proposals to transform the gateway to Ramsey town centre have been submitted to the planning authorities. 

Plans for the major site on Poyll Dooey Road, called Sulby Riverside by promoters Blythe Church Investments Ltd, include 205 new homes, retail units, business workspace, three public parks and a riverside gastro-pub with function rooms.  

The £40m project, being led by Isle of Man resident Nathan Church, would provide a major boost to the town centre, he says.

“These are ambitious proposals that will reinforce Ramsey’s appeal as a place to live, work and visit,” said Mr Church.

“By drawing more footfall to the town all traders stand to benefit and the mix of homes and tenures will help ensure a sustainable community.”

The 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 proposals include a new spine road, which will connect the town centre with emerging settlements to the west and has been designed to accommodate a new bus route.

“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 and pockets, evidenced by the significant investment proposed into community facilities such as the parks, play equipment and a multi-sports pitch.”

This site is currently private land and is identified for development in the Isle of Man Strategic Plan. A team of experts from the island and the UK was assembled to advise on how best to unlock the site’s potential, with extensive consultation undertaken with the public and wider stakeholders.

“It was vital that we sought the public’s views and the response to our consultation was firmly in favour,” explained scheme architect Richard Coutts of BACA Architects, which specialises in designing riverside schemes.  “People were thoughtful and considered and their input allowed us to incorporate numerous improvements.  It’s a better scheme all-round and will enable people to say ‘that’s ours’.”  

Key features of the proposals include:

  • A new riverside walk
  • Three new parks and play areas
  • A new spine road linking Poyll Dooey Road with Gardener’s Lane
  • Ample car parking, with extensive provision of electric charging points
  • Low energy design features throughout all homes
  • Significant job creating investment, including a new riverside gastro pub
  • A new parade of shops
  • A cluster of kiosks next to a new riverside nature trail, for seasonal use

The scheme’s designers worked closely with local ecologists and arboriculturists to protect the clusters of existing mature trees on the site, with ‘considerable investment’ in enhancing the site’s bio-diversity also proposed, says Mr Coutts.

Detailed modelling was carried out to demonstrate that the scheme proposes no risks to the river’s flow, either up or down stream.

“At its heart, Sulby Riverside is about place-making,” says Richard Coutts.  “These proposals are about opening a site that has been unavailable to the public for many years and organising a new residential community around open spaces, public footpaths and trails and the riverside walk.”

Mr Coutts says that all the homes are designed to use the latest in energy-efficient methods and means of construction.

“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.

If planning approval is granted the new spine road will be delivered at the outset of the development, providing relief to Lezayre Road during the TT, enabling a through route and alternative access to the schools and the town centre during the event.  Accompanying the road would be a first phase of 78 new homes.

The planning application has now been submitted and members of the public can inspect the proposals online at the government’s planning portal.  Anyone with any queries is invited to email them to Dougal Paver at paver@merrionstrategy.com

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