One of the island’s most famous residents, Dr John Taylor, has submitted ambitious plans for a new restaurant in the south of the island.
Dr Taylor is best known as an inventor, entrepreneur and horologist.
His application (22/00493/B) is to turn the Gatekeepers Cottage, on Douglas Road, Ballasalla, into a restaurant.
The site itself has a history of development, Dr Taylor previously gained permission for a new house at Gatekeepers Cottage, at the former Ballawoods Halt, back in 2018. However, progress, further impeded by the pandemic, has been slower than intended. Although the relocation of a replacement gatekeeper’s cottage, as part of the railway, has largely been completed.
In his new application, Dr Taylor said the break in construction has allowed him to rethink his plans for the building and he has now decided to seek permission to change his plans for the house and turn it into a ‘green-powered restaurant’. The restaurant would be accessible either by road or by railway, providing he is able to reinstall a long-closed halt stop.
In his plans, Dr Taylor is proposing an extension to the west of the building to allow for a kitchen, situated below ground level, as well as making changes to the currently approved roof and finish of the building.
The application says: ‘The previously approved garage area would be the primary kitchen area, extended to the west and towards the railway line to facilitate a food preparation area, plant room, staff changing and food storage as indicated.
‘The garage door would be changed to become the entrance and window into the new kitchen and the existing lower entrance door would be the guest entrance area. The remaining areas below the main cottage building above would be given over to two private dining rooms, a reception welcome area and the toilet facilities.
‘The open nature of the ground floor above would lend itself well to tables set out around the feature Foxdale granite spiral staircase. Patrons would have access out to both the railway elevation and the rear and outdoor table area, situated over the kitchen facilities below. Above this floor is the open mezzanine with a vaulted ceiling above, looking over to the floor below. ‘
On the roof, Dr Taylor plans to develop a copper roof shingle, embossed with the three legs of man. He says this hexagonal shape shingles would make the roof stronger and all would be vert-de-gris (green) in colour.
Access to the site would be either from walking, driving or by train. The new estate nearby provides plenty of potential customers for the 60 cover restaurant and there would be parking for cars and coaches, as well as passengers, cyclists and six of the parking spaces would be electric vehicle charging points.
The application goes on to say that Dr Taylor has held discussions with the ‘stream railway authority’, which we presume means the DoI/Transport bosses who have ‘welcomed’ the idea a halt at Ballawood to allow train passengers to access the restaurant
It adds: ‘Dr Taylor feels that the proposal to provide a restaurant would be of more benefit to the island than a single dwelling unit. It would offer a benefit to Railway users, to residents of the immediate area and as a tourist destination, providing a Green economic benefit at a time when such tourist attractions are so vitally needed.
This development is driven by Dr Taylor’s desire, in a small way, to assist the Isle of Man in moving forward to a Green Future. This planning application for a Green Restaurant precedes Green Energy applications due to be submitted in the coming weeks which will bolster the reasoning behind this Green application.’
Statement from Dr Taylor
Dr Taylor, in a statement at the end of the application planning statement, said: ‘Once complete, the new Cottage building will be unique and create a great new tourist attraction that can be seen from the Steam Train as it passes just south of the Cottage through the Ballawoods land. It will be an even better tourist and local attraction for visitors and locals to see and touch the internal stone staircase, the sparkling Foxdale Granite coins and the 360 million-year-old carboniferous limestone of the walls – similar to the stone used for Castle Rushen.
‘Two years ago I decided to sell my unique home Arragon Mooar and invest the proceeds into Green Energy developments on the Isle of Man that I hope will inspire other Manx residents as well as the Government.
‘My thoughts have been further motivated by the following new considerations:-
- In the field directly adjacent to my Ballawoods site towards Ballasalla, several hundred houses have appeared almost overnight.
- The cost of the Covid pandemic has dinted the Government’s financial resources so there is little money to support Green initiatives.
- Global warming has become an even more pressing issue that appears to have received little practical attention on the Isle of Man.
- The present war in Ukraine has put into question gas supplies to Europe in general and for our Manx electrical supply from the Pulrose power station in particular.’
He later added: ‘To my knowledge, there is no production of Green Hydrogen currently on the Isle of Man – hence the necessity to collect solar and wind energy to produce Green Electricity to run the Green Restaurant and turn any spare Green Energy into Green Hydrogen to run the Isle of Man steam locomotives.’