Sir, Having lived, worked, and now having my own business on the island, I read your article regarding the proposed redevelopment at the McLaren Hotel in the Saturday May 19 edition with great interest.
The site, formerly an attractive and popular 30-bedroom hotel, restaurant and bar, has sadly been allowed to fall into disrepair. Not a great first impression for visitors and an eyesore for the rest of us.
A new facility is to be welcomed, however, the scale of this proposed development concerns me greatly. It will totally dominate the seafront. Parking, which is already a problem with the new terminal – increased traffic flow, etc, will be made more difficult.
The potential of 97 rooms brings the possibility of at least 60 cars per night during April to October and the 30 or 40 staff mentioned will also need spaces as no staff accommodation is provided. Non-residents using the restaurant are likely to bring cars as well which brings us to the 150 additional spaces that are mentioned in the application (along the front). People from outlying villages park on the seafront if catching the ferry as foot passengers and it is used by camper vans and so I worry slightly.
The effect of the approved plans for additional accommodation at The Douglas on traffic/car parking we obviously don’t know yet, but this will also impact on the current situation.
Regarding visitor accommodation on the island, I feel it is necessary to point out that, in addition to the two main hotels mentioned in the application, there are quite a few other large hotels as well as guest houses, bed and breakfasts and an increasing number of holiday lets/second homes offering a range of accommodation. Many individuals have registered and make a living through Air B&B (currently more than 100) offering a local ‘visitor experience’ and many catering for the budget traveller.
The new jobs, training, etc are great but will these jobs provide secure, good, all-year round employment, which is crucial to those trying to live and work on the island?
Yes, over the summer months accommodation is at a premium, but do we need 97 bedrooms?
Are these going to operate over the winter months? (I know it is not viable for us to open and we are a small business).
There are many unanswered questions as yet.
Caroline Logan Brodick