The main Manx Electric Railway depot at Derby Castle in Douglas could be moved to
allow for redevelopment of the former Summerland site alongside. Michael Chapman and Company, acting on behalf of the government, are currently attempting to sell the Summerland site for redevelopment and as part of this sale they are offering the prospect of a larger development site including the MER depot site but only if the developers agree to find an alternative site for the trams.
The former Summerland leisure complex was finally demolished around five years ago and since that time the site has remained derelict although there was an aborted plan to build a Holiday Inn there a few years ago as the government decided they would be able to get more money by selling the land for development. At the time no bidders were forthcoming
partly because of the need to stabilise the cliff behind the site and the costs this would have incurred but the government are now seemingly trying again.
The Summerland site is said to be just under three acres and the MER depot site adds an extra 2.66 acres to the complete development site available. Presumably the hope is that by adding in the extra space it will be more enticing to potential developers.
The sale of the MER site is further complicated by the fact that only last week planning permission was granted to extend the depot to provide extra parking and operational facilities although as part of the permission this must be removed by 2017 (unless an extension is granted).
If Derby Castle is included in any sale the developers would have to provide an alternative depot for the Manx Electric Railway with one suggestion being this could be under any development.
It remains to be seen whether any developers will want to purchase the land in the current climate but if they do if could cause a big change for the Manx Electric Railway.