Context 153 - March 2018

42 C O N T E X T 1 5 3 : M A R C H 2 0 1 8 area that would eliminate parked vehicles, and create an attractive and functional public space. In 2015 the local Costa Coffee franchise had just two outlets in the capital, Douglas, and had recently opened one in the northern town of Ramsey, which had proven to be hugely successful. Castletown had been in decline as a commercial centre for a number of years, and the local authority and member of the House of Keys were keen to attract new businesses. Costa Coffee was keen to open premises in Castletown and the local franchisee was willing to contribute to the capital investment costs for the scheme. For its part, MNH saw the opportunity to extend the physical regeneration of the Quarterdeck space to contribute to economic regeneration in the wider town. The schemewas generously funded by theManxMuseum and NationalTrust, Friends of Manx National Heritage, Isle of ManGovernment and Castletown Commissioners. The original conservation plan objective was to physically enhance the Quarterdeck area, but it did not prescribe how.Addressing the design for the landscaping together with a scheme for the refurbished building enabled a coherent approach to be taken to retain overall visual integrity. Externally the palette had already been determined to a large extent by the extensive of use of Carlow limestone for a regeneration scheme in the nearby Market Square. The Quarterdeck area had been metalled or paved for the best part of 200 years, so Carlow stone, which is geologically closely related to Castletown limestone (no longer quarried),was specified, using in-situ cast concrete seats to distinguish the area as pedestrian and some low impact planters to soften the impact slightly. Working with the prospective tenant, a design for the building was developed which largely restored its external appearance to how it was in around 1900, with the addition of a lead flat roof extension offering seating with views up and down the Silverburn River and large bi-fold doors giving unobstructed views across Castletown Bay. Partial demolition and reinforcement of compromised internal walls created a large enough internal space. Before the scheme was completed in 2015 the Coffee Republic franchise announced its intention to open premises on the town’s Market Square. Rather than see- ing this as competition, Manx National Heritage viewed it as evidence that regeneration was having the desired effect. Within days of starting work on the building it became apparent that it was in even worse condition than anticipated, due to years of poor maintenance and a failure to manage surface water. Identifying an economic solution to the structural problems relied on MNH’s determination to save the building, the ingenuity of the structural engineer (John Gray Associates) and the availability of additional finance. Notwithstanding its protected status, it is highly likely that this building would have been lost had it been acquired privately. Minor interventions for the landscaping revealed traces of the archaeology close to the surface, confirming the importance of the approach. Community and customer reaction has been favour- able. The business is performing successfully, and the hard landscaping has survived two harsh winters. The project has proved to be a good Manx example of the management of significant change in a protected building. Castlegate, and the Quarterdeck in the foreground (Photo: Patricia Tutt, ARPS)

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