groudle wheel

Fans of the Groudle Glen waterwheel Little Isabella were finally given something to cheer this week as a renovation project was announced.

Onchan Commissioners have confirmed they have reached an agreement to restore the wheel, which dates from the late 19th century and has fallen into a sorry state in recent years.

The commissioners’ announcement came a week after the Manx Independent reported a call for action on the water wheel, which is falling apart.

The local authority said it has reached an agreement with Laxey mining company MMD GPHC Ltd to demolish and rebuild the wheel house and restore the wheel.

The chairman of Onchan Commissioners, Martin Macfarlane, said the plans had been considered to ensure ’that any expenditure must be in the best interest of the ratepayers of Onchan’.

Mr Macfarlane added: ’The agreement will see the wheel being restored to its former glory with the intention to rebuild the wheel house like for like. This project will be challenging given the logistics involved however through this partnership we have access to highly skilled professionals who wish to make a difference to our community.’

It is understood that while the building will be demolished, the wheel itself will be saved with it being ’carefully removed for its restoration programme’.

The news has been warmly received by the village’s MHKs Julie Edge and Rob Callister who praised the collaboration with their Garff colleagues Daphne Caine MHK and Martyn Perkins MHK. Ms Edge told the Manx Independent: ’It is excellent news that a decision has finally been reached and the wheel is being saved It is part of our history and we need to be doing more to ensure that we retain and maintain the unique historical aspects of our island.

’Congratulations to my Garff colleague Daphne Caine MHK who made vital links with a Garff company to advise on the restoration of the wheel.’

Mr Callister, who has responsibility for tourism as part of his role as a political member of the Department for Enterprise, said the announcement was ’welcome news, and long overdue for visitors and locals that visit the glen’.

A spokesman for Groudle Glen Railway said its volunteers were thrilled that Little Isabella will be restored saying it was ’such an important part of the glen’s history and also the visitor experience when walking through the glen’.

It is not known when the work will be carried out. However it understood it cannot begin until the end of the mating season to lessen disruption river fish.

Mrs Caine said: ’I enjoyed a trip on Groudle Glen Railway’s Easter bunny trains at the weekend and loads of people came up to me to express disappointment about the condition of the wheel so this announcement is very welcome.

’I am pleased Martyn and I were able to play a part in liaising with the local community partner company who has the necessary expertise and ambition to restore what is now an eyesore with something that will enhance the glen’s appearance and appeal.’

Mr Perkins added: ’I’m very pleased that everybody working together has achieved something positive for the island’s most popular glen and secured the future of its iconic building. The restoration of the working water wheel will enable it to continue to delight future generations and that will be a great result.’

Source: IoMToday