Manx National Heritage will this month seek Tynwald’s permission to sell a cottage in Colby in order to pay for repairs for the Great Laxey Wheel.
The wheel, which is currently the world’s biggest broken water feature, requires £450,000 worth of repairs, plus £300,000 to repeat the painting, pointing and minor repairs which was done in 2015.
The Cottage, at Ballastrooan in Colby, was part of the estate of John Donald Collister and was bequeathed to MNH when he died and, following a ruling by Deemster John Needham (then High Bailiff), the property was formally conveyed to MNH in 2011.
Since then the cottage has been leased out and provided a steady income for MNH. Since September 2020, the cottage has been listed for sale with an original price of £650,000, which has since been lowered to £625,000.
John Donald Collister
If Tynwald now gives its backing, the proceeds of the sale of the property will provide part of the overall funding package for the emergency repairs and maintenance works required for the Laxey Wheel with any remaining balance to be used to support the delivery of MNH’s other work.
The Treasury and MNH will split the cost of repairing the wheel 50:50. Back in March, MNH said it is ‘difficult to estimate costs precisely without clarity on the logistics and methodology’.
‘However, we estimate that a figure of about £450,000 will be required for the repairs to the Wheel and rod duct mechanism. We further estimate that some £300,000 will be required to repeat the painting, pointing and minor repairs which were done in 2015.’
At the time Treasury Minister Alf Cannan said: ‘I am pleased that we have been able to develop a pragmatic solution to this matter. The Treasury had been clear that only emergency bids were to be put forward in this budget round to maintain a balance of expenditure on our Island’s critical operating infrastructure whilst reflecting the impact that the pandemic has had on available funding. Clearly the Laxey Wheel is no longer critical operating infrastructure but it is iconic and a cornerstone of our visitor experience. With this in mind I am pleased that we have identified this joint funding solution to ensure that the wheel turns again as we hopefully come out of the challenges of the COVID pandemic.’