There has been considerable public interest in the future of Groudle Glen Water wheel since the issue was raised in Tynwald by Mrs D. Caine MHK on the 16th May.
Onchan District Commissioners have been considering the future of the structure along with our tenant the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and other partners over the last five years.
The Commissioners have openly discussed the future of the water wheel at their public meetings and have discussed this matter with statutory and third sector organisations whom may be able to provide advice or assistance.
The Board of Onchan District Commissioners recognise that they have responsibility for the structure of the wheelhouse and water wheel, and have over a number of years carried out maintenance to the building in partnership with the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture. It is now recognised that the wheelhouse and water wheel require significant structural work or possible complete replacement. The alternative is to remove the structure from the Glen and return the area to nature.
Curtins Consulting Ltd, provided a written report to the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture in October 2013 which has been shared with the Commissioners and this provided the basis for a formal tender process in 2015.
The result of the tender showed that the cost for complete restoration of the wheelhouse and water wheel would be approximately £200,000, the majority of the cost being labour and getting equipment and materials to this difficult location. It is estimated that if this cost were to be entirely borne by the rate-payers in Onchan, an average property in the district would pay an additional £4.20 in rates every year for ten years.
The Board of Onchan District Commissioners have considered this cost on a number of occasions, most recently when compiling the budget for the financial year 2017/18 and they have decided that they cannot include it as part of the committed expenditure. The Board consider there are greater priorities for the rate-payers of Onchan and the expenditure of this sum on the water wheel does not represent good value for money.
The water wheel remains within Groudle Glen in the expectation that Onchan District Commissioners may be able to enter into a partnership with another organisation to address this issue, however to date this has not been possible. The Board are aware of a great deal of social media debate about the future of the water wheel. Unfortunately it is noted that there has been few direct approaches offering advice or assistance to restore the structure.
In order to generate some further interest in the future of the water wheel, Onchan District Commissioners are publishing the structural report through our website and welcome any advice or assistance from people or organisations who wish to see the water wheel retained in Groudle Glen.
Chief Executive – Michael Morrison
Onchan District Commissioners
Onchan IM3 1RD
Tel. (01624) 675564 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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