Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man urban regeneration scheme 'streamlined'

Strand Street in Douglas Image copyright MANXSCENES
Image caption The scheme helped to fund regeneration works in Douglas' main shopping area

Overhauling a Manx urban regeneration scheme will "remove bureaucracy" from the application process, the enterprise minister has said.

The scheme has previously only helped business owners enhance their properties in "defined zones" of towns and villages.

Laurence Skelly said changes backed by Tynwald would "streamline" the system and make funds available island-wide.

Alex Allinson MHK said it could "really drive the economies of communities".

Since 2009, £13.4m has been used to fund 223 projects, but they have been restricted to designated streets in town and village centres and had to be approved by individual regeneration committees and the chief minister's steering group.

In February's budget, Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan committed to allocating £250,000 to the fund annually for four years.

Mr Skelly said, under the new scheme, "any area designated for town centre, retail, tourism or business use" could apply for funding directly from the Department for Enterprise.

He added that it would allow "businesses, charities and so forth to come forward and claim the cost without the bureaucracy".

Alex Allinson MHK said the new scheme went "far beyond what was originally possible", adding that the changes could "really drive the economies of local communities".

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