One of many ongoing sagas on the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is now seemingly resolved with the news that the Department of Infrastructure have purchased Summer Hill Stables from Douglas Borough Council and they will now be retained for their original purpose. The stables have cost £600,000 to purchase and will now allow previous plans for a temporary structure on the old Summerland complex to be abandoned which should make it more attractive for future investors.
Built in 1877 the stables have been in use ever since to hold the horses to operate the horse tram service along the prom. Still owned by Douglas Borough Council when operation of the horse tramway was transferred to Isle of Man Transport a deal couldn’t initially be reached for their continued use with the stables put on the market. Agreement was finally reached that they could still be used for the 2018 season but ownership remained with the Council and they were still for sale despite pleas for them to be listed.
However, now the Department for Infrastructure have agreed to purchase them for the not inconsequential fee of £600,000 and they will still be used for their original purpose with no risk of major redevelopment.
A planning application had been submitted for a temporary structure to be built of the old Summerland complex but after consideration it was decided that it would be most cost effective to purchase the historic stables as well as helping to retain part of the Island’s heritage infrastructure. It will also allow the Summerland site to remain a clear and more attractive proposition for investors.
Jason Moorhouse MHK, Member for Public Transport, said: “The stables will continue to be used for its intended purpose, while investment will also be made to secure the fabric of the property and improve welfare facilities. With the promenade redevelopment project set to begin later this year and the recent application to rebuild Strathallan depot, this is an exciting time for the horse trams, and the wider heritage transport network more generally, with commitments being made to ensure they continue to attract tourists for many years to come.”
Douglas Borough Council Leader, Cllr David Christian, said: “The Council is pleased that these negotiations have been successfully completed. Thanks to this welcome investment in the capital the site can now be re-purposed and will complement the refurbishment of the promenade and regeneration of Douglas town centre.”