Permission given for temporary horse tram building at Derby Castle

It would appear that the trams and horses of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway will have a new home in 2017 following the approval of a planning application to construct a temporary building on part of the former Summerland site. The new building will consist of a tram shed, stables, staff welfare facilities, parking and new vehicular access and is partly required because of the very poor condition of the Strathallan Depot and the desire to move the horses from the Summerhill stables which were put up for sale in 2016.

Despite objections to the scheme – including the Manx Electric Railway Society – the planning department agreed to the application although there are a number of conditions which have to be met. Most notable of these is that the building must be removed within four years as its “subsequent retention would result in an unwarranted intrusion in the conservation area”. The external walls, sliding doors and roller shutter doors must be in a dark green/olive green colour and there must be adequate off street parking before the building is used.

Now that permission has been granted for the new building work will presumably start on construction ahead of the new horse tram season as currently only restricted access is possible into Strathallan Depot under struct guidelines due to the incredibly poor condition of this building.

* All the documents related to the application can be read at

This entry was posted in Douglas Bay Horse Tramway. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Permission given for temporary horse tram building at Derby Castle

  1. Ed says:

    I love how the MERS object to everyrthing! Its keeping the Trams running for goodness sake. they are supposed to support the Island’s transport but they rarely ever do.

  2. Phil Caine says:

    Is the MERS as bad as those who refuse to criticise bad decisions? At least the MERS put up a very strong fight when it was proposed to cut the horse tramway back to the Villa Marina. More so than the limp efforts of another group.

  3. Further to the above posting and subsequent comment from Ed.

    Had the MERS succeeded the Strathallan Depot and the ancient stables would have had to be retained and repaired. We may yet bring legal proceedings to review the decision.
    If we permit the continued destruction of Manx heritage at it’s present rate (Ramsey Car Shed and Goods Shed destroyed over Christmas) there will be nothing left.

  4. Gareth Prior says:

    A warning to all that this discussion is rapidly turning into a slanging match and there are comments that are very “close to the wire” in personal insults.

    There are two types of groups who apparently work for the good of trams on the Isle of Man. There are those groups who believe that to achieve their aims they need to work with the government and Isle of Man Railways and there is the alternative viewpoint that you criticise absolutely everything and then complain when you aren’t included in discussions.

    We too will leave it to the readers of British Trams Online as to which way they think is best…

  5. In recent times in the Isle of Man, the Government Department in charge of the railways and tramways has become expert in the “only one option” scenario in the belief that the naive will swallow it. It is the belief of the MERS that the white heat of political pressure and that alone is capable of providing option 2 and that is why we no longer work with the Government. (We had an option 2 when all others had given up on the prospects of keeping the horse tramway open through to the Sea Terminal). Our job would be considerably easier if those interested in the preservation of what was left formed a united front but that is sadly unlikely to be the case.

  6. David Mee says:

    I think it is very lazy to kick the Manx Electric Railway Society. It may not be perfect, but then are any of us?

    I have been visiting, and organising visits to the Isle of Man for over thirty years, and when you deal with the Manx Government, or sub sets of it like Isle of Man Railways, you quickly learn that the attitude is ‘its my way or the highway’, there is absolutely no room for movement, and frankly the only thing that brings any leverage is money.

    The investment in the tram cars and the infrastructure is to be applauded, but the destruction of all that makes the MER special is not. Recent years have seen the diluting of what was the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the MER, Laxey Station. Now Ramsey Station site is abandoned with all of the historic features gone. The line is more than just the cars and with the atmosphere of the line changed, the reasons to visit become less. The same is happening on the steam railway – the inside of the station building at Douglas destroyed in the name of retail development, the near perfect station building at Port Erin, altered in the name of some sort of transport hub.

    That is what happens when organisations go unchallenged, and that is why we need campaigning, political organisations like the Manx Electric Railway Society to say enough is enough and to challenge the status quo. Similarly the IOMSRSA should not be scared to comment on changes to the steam railway.

    Those who have thrown their lot in with the government would do well to learn from history. Island politics is very fickle, and a change to the islands masters could very well spell the end for voluntary involvement, as it did on the steam railway in the 1970’s.

    With regard to the Horse Trams lets hope that the ‘hideous temporary building’ is just that and that the historic Strathallen Depot is repaired and does not go the way of the buildings at Ramsey, forever changing the look of the Derby Castle terminus.

    By the way, the above are my personal views and are in no way meant to detract from the excellent work that volunteers have done on the ground on both the steam railway and the MER. I only mean to say that there is a place for both volunteer organisations and campaigning political organisations and they both bring value, and no one should be scared to say what they think, especially when they disagree with a course of action.

    The isle of Man Transport systems are one of the heritage wonders of the world and need to be protected and cared for so that we can all enjoy them into the future.

Comments are closed.