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A heritage group has criticised a decision that paves the way for major changes to Douglas railway station, the Isle of Man Today – www.iomtoday.co.im website writes.
Douglas, Isle of Man
An independent inspector has approved the Department of Infrastructure’s £1.4m plan that includes remodelling the interior of the ticket hall.
In an attempt to make the station more commercially viable, a shop will be created on the ground floor and the restaurant will be moved into a greatly-extended mezzanine level that will cover most of the hall.
Douglas Railway Station, Isle of Man (wikipedia.org)
But planning inspector Anthony Wharton agreed with objectors concerns about the potential impact on the north-facing wall, which includes the original ticketing windows and an original map of the island’s railway network. He ruled that the mezzanine must stop short of the wall.
Peter Kelly, caseworker for the Isle of Man Victorian Society, told iomtoday: “It’s a very poor compromise that will not go down well with the railway enthusiasts who we’re trying to encourage.
“The feeling and ambience of the ticketing hall will be lost.
“If you can visualise a 4ft gap where people must crane their necks, it won’t achieve what it’s trying to achieve, which is giving the feel of the large hall that once existed”.
He continued: “Douglas station is the showcase of the island’s heritage railways. Given that the island is marketing heritage railways as an attraction, it’s ironic – if not heretic – to be messing about with something original like this”.
“Now that it has the benefit of planning permission and registered building consent, the die is cast and it would only be Treasury or Tynwald, by not granting the necessary funds, that would stop it.”
In a statement, Ian Longworth, director of public transport, said: “We are happy the planning inspector agreed that building repairs are essential and our Minister will now seek Tynwald approval for the work to commence this winter”.
“It is our intention to make Douglas Station more commercially viable, with any alterations designed to sympathetically enhance the original station and improve our passenger facilities”.
Kilde / Source: Isle of Man Today – www.iomtoday.co.im
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