Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Chief minister Tony Brown defends Summerland U-turn

Summerland site
The Summerland site was demolished in 2005

The Isle of Man's chief minister has defended the government's apparent U-turn on the Summerland site.

The government first said the vacant site would be sold for residential use after officials rejected plans for a hotel and leisure development.

Yet a week later, it said it would give developers a week to revise the leisure aspect of the plans.

Tony Brown said David Cretney, minister for Community, Culture and Leisure, was right to give the developers more time.

Mr Brown said: "We can be dogmatic and then people will say we never even listened to anybody or sometimes we make a decision, somebody comes forward, we actually listen to them and say 'OK we will give you a bit longer to look at it again'.

"Ultimately the decision is we are selling the Summerland site unless there is a very good reason.

"We do have to make some decisions based on our responsibilities."

The site in Douglas, which is currently being looked at by developers GB Building Solutions and Springham Ltd, has been unused since the Summerland Complex was demolished in 2005.

Douglas Corporation bought the site in 1964 and developed it as the Summerland Complex which opened in 1971.

Two years later fire swept through the complex killing more than 50 people.

The Summerland disaster led to a major change in fire regulations on the Isle of Man and in the UK.

It was rebuilt in 1976 and reopened in 1978.

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