Manx National Heritage (MNH) would like to reiterate their thanks to the people who contributed to the public consultation in autumn last year on the future of the former Baillie Scott Police Station in Castletown. A total of 401 people responded to the survey and just over half of those (222) also provided detailed comments and ideas for its potential use.
The headline findings were shared with the public via a press release and on MNH’s website and social media pages in November 2019 and are repeated below. This formal update and invitation for formal proposals was unfortunately delayed due to Covid-19.
The Headline Findings
- The age and gender profile of respondents was reflective of the Island’s general population profile
- Half the people who responded were from the IM9 post-code area i.e. the southern parts of the Island
- Respondents had a wide range of interests and were not just those with an interest in history or heritage
- 94% of respondents said they were familiar with MNH and its work
- 73% had visited an MNH site, event or exhibition in the last three months
- 100% of respondents felt it was important to preserve the building
- 97% of respondents felt it important for the public to have access to the building
- 83% of people felt the Government and taxpayer should fund the preservation
- 60% felt that the building should attract visitors to Castletown
- 63% felt it should be some kind of visitor attraction
- 40% supported some kind of commercial use
- 38% were opposed to commercial use
- 20% of people had no clear opposition to any particular use
The comments and free text responses fell into the following broad categories:
- Catering Premises (Pub/Restaurant/Café)
- Community uses
- Historical Law and Policing Attraction
- Tourist Information Centre
- Link to Current MNH Sites
- Other Public/Tourist Attraction
- Premises for Art and Craft
MNH Trustees have discussed the results of the survey and considered the future of the building in the context of their wider priorities across the island. Whilst there are many potential uses, a key criteria for MNH is that the use must be sustainable i.e. the building must ‘pay its way’. This unfortunately eliminates a number of suggestions including a new heritage attraction managed by MNH and funded by the taxpayer. In line with the survey findings, MNH will seek to ensure that, where possible, future use maximises public interest, respects the heritage of the building and provides a positive economic and social impact.
With this in mind, MNH is now seeking formal proposals for long-term operation by a third party with the requirements that proposals should:
- Maximise public access
- Respect the heritage of the building and reference its history
- Make a positive impact on the economic and social life of the town
- Generate an economic rent
- Include a full repairing lease
- Be for a minimum term of 5 years
Interested parties are invited to submit detailed proposals and how it meets the above criteria to Chrystals, 31 Victoria Street, Douglas, IM2 1SE email@example.com
All proposals must be received by midday, 12 noon on Thursday 22nd October 2020
Further information is available on application to Chrystals, contact details above.
Notes for editors
Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott was a leading light in the Arts & Crafts movement and lived on the Isle of Man for 12 years while he worked as an architect. Other notable buildings he designed include the Red House and Ivydene in Douglas, Thornbank in Douglas, Onchan Parish Hall and the former Majestic Hotel.
The building is an important one on the Island as one of few buildings designed by Baillie Scott. It is Registered and was used as a Police Station until its closure in 2017.
MNH originally publicly stated that the building could be protected through the Planning process but responded to public concerns and debates in Tynwald by agreeing to acquire the building using its charitable funds. At the same time, MNH has consistently stated that it did not have the funds to operate the building itself and that a suitable sustainable use would need to be identified, saying when launching the consultation;
“While we have committed to safeguarding the building for the future, we are keen to find out if there is local support for using the building for commercial or community purposes. The Baillie Scott Police Station is a landmark building and a huge part of the social history and architectural fabric of Castletown. Although Manx National Heritage does not have funds to develop it as a tourist attraction, we recognise that many people would like to see it remain an active building. We are now looking for ideas that would enhance its contribution to the town and which would be complementary and sympathetic to the design and layout of the building. Above all, we are looking for suggestions as to how such use could be sustainably funded. This is a chance for everyone to express their views and suggest ideas. I hope that people will take this opportunity to have a say about how this wonderful structure should – or should not – be used, bearing in mind its registered status and the need to be self-financing.”