Be Heard! Save the Ice Rink at Tynwald Mills

In the space of five years, the island has gone from being behind the times to gentrification on crack.For decades you couldn’t take a trip across the Irish Sea without a tinge of envy, bearing witness to the cornucopia of consumer delights dotting “mainland” cities.But look now and the island has finally arrived.Millennials previously rueing the dearth of lifestyle options find the island suddenly overflowing with glamping, craft breweries, boutique hotels, rural spas and top dining options. And if that’s not your cup of tea, there’s always Quid’s Inn.I wish I had been there for the “Eureka!” moments when budding Manx entrepreneurs realised:

“Holy sh!t, it’s not just shell companies that have money.”

You get the impression that the island’s recent resurgence is more likely to be in spite of political involvement rather than because of it, and the decision made recently regarding the ice rink at Tynwald Mills does nothing to alter this notion.The temporary rink has been operating at the shopping centre for five Christmases now and you’d think an application to extend for another few years would be a no-brainer.In the end, it was a no-brainer of the opposite kind, as the application was rejected by the island planning committee because it would be “contrary to the local and strategic plan as the site is designated as countryside,” as the Manx Indy tells it.If you don’t know what that means I don’t blame you, council-ese is a language spoken only by the most miserly of pen-pushers, but it roughly translates as “We’re talking out of our ar$es.”The rink apparently presents road safety issues, “generates un-neighbourly noise levels” and represents “unwarranted development in the countryside.”I couldn’t help but laugh when I read the objections from residents of the nearby Mill House, who according to the Indy said:

“The area is countryside which should be peace and quiet except for sheep and cows.”

Firstly, that’s the most Manx example of NIMBYism I’ve ever heard, and secondly THAT’S YOUR ARGUMENT?!Ice skates are practically frictionless! I can’t think of a quieter physical pastime, but to hear that objection you’d think people were skating on gravel.Naturally, the people doing the skating generate noise as well, so I’d like to ask the locals what it is about the sound of delighted laughter they find so offensive? Perhaps they’re tired of the rowdy behaviour from skaters drunk on the sherry-soaked kumquats from The Mill Shop?Speaking of which, it’ll certainly make things nice and peaceful for all of those shop owners at Tynwald Mills, who must be heartily sick of the sound of eager customers and all those ringing tills.Considering its location – one of the road entrances requires you navigate a Ford, you know – it’s a minor miracle that Tynwald Mills is still with us. This won’t do it and the many dozens of people employed there any favours.For all the changes (for the better) the island has seen the past few years, there remains work to be done providing entertainment for families. This was one of the attractions getting it right, bringing in 11,000 people last year alone.It also raised £25,000 for local charities … the monsters.Refusing permission looks very much like a backward step from the out of touch, but there remains a glimmer of hope.Tynwald Mills seems to think it still has a chance of making the rink happen this year, so I suggest you make your voices heard by signing this petition, calling for it to be reinstated.Hell, get on to your MHK and tell them to start working for you for once.

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