Caine and Moorhouse probe DoI Minister on footpaths and the cost of flags.

Daphne Caine to ask the Minister for Infrastructure – What plans he has to adopt the Manor Park estate footpaths without charging the residents?

Tim Baker – Made this clear in Tynwald, we’re not doing it until the majority of residents say they’ll pay for them to be brought to a proper standard, the taxpayer will not pay. 

Daphne Caine – Is this a unique situation on the island where the road has been adopted but not the pavement, was a mistake made in 2002. 

Tim Baker – It was not a mistake in 2002, the department can only adopt roads and footpaths when they are made to the standard required, we have not made a mistake.

Martyn Perkins – Would you outline issues where the developer has put a management company forward and then liquidated it?

Tim Baker – Don’t have that info available right now, but the company was liquidated in 2019. The residents have to agree to pay before we will take it over, there is not sufficient support from the residents for this. 

Daphne Caine – The fact that the company was dissolved in 2019 and the failure of the footpaths is why people are aggrieved. They feel let down by the department and they’re aggrieved you’re refusing to adopt the footpaths. Will you agree to review the situation?

Tim Baker – We adopted the road and released the bond money for the road, the contract with the developer was for the road only and that was built to standard. There was no mistake, I understand the sentiment but their anger should be at the developer not us. We shouldn’t pick up the tab for failed developers or to fix private property. If the residents will do their bit, my department will look at it again, I can’t justify diverting taxpayers funds to subsidise a group of agitated residents. 

Jason Moorhouse – Would you consider looking at the benefits of improving walking and cycling for people in the local area, are there similar issues in other parts of the island?

Tim Baker – Stretching the question a bit. There are very specific circumstances at play here. 

Julie Edge – Don’t you agree the DoI did fail, what about health and safety for people using the footpaths?

Tim Baker – The road bond was released when the work was completed. It excluded the footpaths and we hold no bonds for this. There is no legal basis for the DoI to do this.

Daphne Caine – I appreciate you don’t want to commit public funds but there is now no signage for it being a private estate but many people are going through it for exercise and the postmen do too, it is uneven and slippery. One alternative to fund it could be to apply to the Treasury. It is unsatisfactory to leave these pavements in a dangerous condition. Still haven’t said if this is a unique situation?

Tim Baker – I don’t know, I can’t survey every pavement on the island off the back of questions about an estate in Onchan. The question is who owns the footpath now the developer has dissolved? And there is a problem over working out who does. But if residents want it solved, they can’t just demand the DoI to fix it and if the private estate signs have gone, it just means they’re not there anymore, it makes no legal difference. It is not the DoI’s responsibility to provide a bail out to residents of a grand estate.

Jason Moorhouse to ask the Minister for Infrastructure – What the cost was of the stone sets, flags and similar surfacing which is being used on the Promenade; and whether water points are included at regular intervals in all sections?

Tim Baker – Total cost of these things is £2.1m, the unit cost is not broken down by the contractor. Water bottle refilling points are provided along the prom, but they were put in by Douglas Council.

Jason Moorhouse – What are the maintenance plans for the area once the scheme is finished?

Tim Baker – Very broad area and I wouldn’t wish to mislead you on this, I’ll write to you about it Jason. 

Jason Moorhouse – The emphasis is that we have spent £2m of public money, how will we ensure this is looked after going forward.

Tim Baker – Clearly it is very important to maintain the prom when it is finished, we have to maintain the asset that we’ve spoken a lot of time and money on, I’ll let you know. 

Julie Edge – Who is signing off Douglas Council work?

Tim Baker – Will cover that in my letter to Jason, I’ll pop it in the post to all members.

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