24 January 2022
Castletown’s former Baillie Scott designed Police Station is set to become another exciting piece in the jigsaw of the town’s regeneration, thanks to a unique partnership between Marlinspike Properties Limited and Manx National Heritage, the charity responsible for the Isle of Man’s natural and cultural heritage.
The unique building, famed for its conical roof and designed by the world-renowned Arts & Crafts architect, Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, was built between 1899 and 1901 and was one of his last works to be completed on the Isle of Man.
A working police station until 2017, it was built using the same stone as Castle Rushen and also features handmade ironwork from a foundry in the town. It retains many of its original features including its formidable Victorian cells.
The former police station will become a hub for a number of local hotels, bars and restaurants due to private investment by Marlinspike Limited. It will remain publically accessible, with one of the old offices and cells being managed by Castletown Commissioners and made available for community use. To the rear, a poorly constructed 1980’s flat roof extension is to be demolished to create a rear courtyard and appropriate backstreet connection between Parliament Square and the Quarterdeck.
John Paul Walker, Historic Buildings Architect for Manx National Heritage said:
“In recent years, Castletown has been completely transformed, thanks to a multitude of regeneration projects creating a vibrant and attractive town centre. A broad and diverse offering helps to attract a wide range of people to spend longer and spend more in an area, whether this be to live, work, shop or enjoy leisure time.
The transformation of Castletown can be attributed to the immense success of work completed by Castletown Commissioners and the town’s many public and private sector stakeholders, who recognised the potential of Castletown’s historic environment, in which we are pleased to facilitate further investment.
The project at the Old Police Station will see the adaptive re-use of an historic building for new sustainable purposes and is another great example of ‘Conservation Led Regeneration’, where the historic environment stimulates further investment and dynamism in an area”.
Chairman of Castletown Town Commissioners Jamie Horton said:
“Now, more than ever, it is vital that we remain ambitious for our town and I am delighted that the community has had input into the repurposing of this landmark Castletown building.
Castletown Town Commissioners aspire to deliver an innovative, welcoming, sustainable and resilient town centre for the benefit of residents and visitors alike. The increased investment in heritage-led regeneration projects, both from businesses and individuals is key to achieve the vision.
We look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with MNH, Marlinspike and other key stakeholders and hope that the work to bring such registered buildings back into the public domain will encourage others to consider Castletown for future ventures. My team and I would be delighted to speak with anyone who may be considering relocating to Castletown.”
Investment in Castletown’s historic townscape has already acted as a successful catalyst, attracting private sector funded projects, with examples including a joint enterprise between MNH and the Isle of Man based Costa Franchisee ‘Fancy a Coffee Limited’, turning the former Social Security Office building and Quarterdeck area overlooking Castletown Harbour into a very popular coffee bar.
Additional recent investment has taken place in the Speaker’s Garden, with support from the Friends of Manx National Heritage, and Castle Rushen’s former Courtroom has just undergone renovation, creating an exciting new venue for meetings, weddings, get-togethers and special events in the heart of Castletown.
John Paul continued:
Town centres are a complex mix of physical and social elements, so successful regeneration is rarely down to one project solely but it does take one project to act as a catalyst for others by showcasing the potential of a place and providing the confidence that attracts further investment.
The Market Square, at the historic heart of Castletown was the first area to undergo a transformation in 2013, thanks to the progressive vision of the town’s Commissioners and the Town & Village Regeneration Fund. The scheme rationalised parking, street furniture and surface finishes with layout, language and materials all drawing on the historic buildings surrounding the space”.
Projects including, The Speaker’s Garden, Castlegate and Parliament Square followed and have combined to transform the townscape and create a dynamic and attractive destination. The project at the Baillie Scott Police Station will further add to this success.
Castletown is an exceptional example of conservation led regeneration, with the built historic environment acting as a positive catalyst for economic and social revival, creating increased enjoyment and local economic activity in the town. We look forward to seeing the Baillie Scott Police Station project completed, scheduled to open in Summer 2023 and working with our many stakeholders and partners to further contribute to the renewed vibrancy of the Island’s historic Capital, Castletown”.
Castletown’s Regeneration will be further explored in a webinar hosted by UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man, taking place on 9 February at 1pm. Spaces on the webinar are free of charge. To find out more or book a place, visit www.manxnationalheritage.im/whats-on.