Prom

Over £1m of works has been descoped from the prom scheme, an FoI request has revealed. Gef asked the DoI to confirm that works have been removed from the scheme since it began. The gov responded that so far, things removed from the scheme include: ‘Granite paving at Broadway and Church Road Roundels including the concrete foundation at Broadway. Horse tram track Castle Mona Avenue – Bottleneck carpark, carriage way build-outs on Loch Promenade’.

The gov said this accounted for £1,129,000 being removed from the scheme.  Meanwhile the DoI also confirmed that the net cumulative sum paid to date (April 2021) is £16,773,836.

Fibre

The Department of Enterprise has commissioned a market research agency to research household opinions about broadband options.  Research professionals will be using a variety of methods to investigate attitudes to broadband in general, benefits of fibre, and barriers to the adoption of fibre (where available).

The National Broadband Plan (NBP), outlined in the Isle of Man’s National Telecoms Strategy, sets out to deliver ultrafast fibre to the premises (FTTP) past more than 99% of the Island’s premises by 2024.

The National Broadband Plan began on 1st July 2020, with local telecoms provider, Manx Telecom, chosen as the preferred supplier. Fibre is continuing to be rolled out to areas outside of the intervention zones, alongside the NBP – and currently approximately 46.5% of the Island has access to ultrafast fibre broadband.

Part of the research will involve members of the research team knocking on doors and conducting face to face interviews. Blue Island Guys, the chosen researchers of the Department for Enterprise, will not be holding personal data, and respondents are under no obligation to take part in the research if they do not wish.  Researchers will not need to enter homes, and discussions should be short, however any co-operation and thoughts will be gratefully received from those who do feel able to contribute.

Results will help inform the Government further about changing consumer requirements, and will allow for balanced and informed decision-making to take place in the future. Feedback is also being facilitated through an online survey which can be found on Department for Enterprise website or here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VFDSQJX

Parade Street

The gov is remaining tight-lipped about exactly why it has closed a car park in central Douglas.

It was announced on Tuesday night that the Parade Street car park, next to the Steam Packet buildings would be closed for ‘some time’ and the former Lord Street bus station site was to be re-opened as a car park. 

When gef asked the gov why this has been done, we were told it was to create ‘additional capacity at the port for an expected increase in passenger numbers with proposed border changes’. 

However when we pushed further as to why the additional capacity was needed and what it would be used for, the gov’s spokesman only confirmed that more info would be coming soon.

The Lord Street site itself has planning permission for a £25 million proposal, which includes a seven-screen cinema ‘omniplex’, a multi-storey car park, an 80-bed Travelodge Hotel and 20 residential apartments. It has previously been reported that as part of the deal which saw the site sold by the DoI to Kane Ltd,  the DoI added a condition of sale so it couldn’t be used for parking. 

Jab or No Jab, That is the Question

The BBC is reporting that a decision to vaccinate all 12 to 17-year-old children against Covid is unlikely to be recommended by UK vaccine experts imminently. Certain groups of children may still be offered a Covid jab – but not all. A statement from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is expected in the coming days. The government will then make a final decision on whether teenagers will be included in the mass rollout.

Hopeless Hancock

You know if it wasn’t for all the people who have died, the war between Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings would be entertaining. But in his latest mudslinging release, the PM’s former adviser has revealed text messages in which Boris called his Health Secretary ‘hopeless’ and considered replacing him with Michael Gove.

What Happened to Nora

A Malaysian judge has overturned an inquest verdict of misadventure in the death of 15-year-old Nóra Quoirin, changing it to an open ruling.  Nóra, from south-west London, was discovered dead in the jungle nine days after she went missing from an eco-resort in Malaysia in August 2019. The change in verdict suggests there are still questions to be answered in the case, and leaves open the possibility of criminal involvement. Her family believes she was abducted.

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