Ray Harmer, image credit: Isle of SocialRay Harmer, image credit: Isle of Social

Ray Harmer, image credit: Isle of Social

A couple of week’s ago, we wrote an explainer piece about the Area Plan for the East and how it could affect you, which you can read here. Since then it’s developed and this week, Members of Tynwald gave their backing to the Area Plan for the East, giving the go-ahead for major developments in the island’s most populous region.

The Plan

The plan, which covers the east of the island from Santon to Laxey and Douglas out to Marown, zones areas to make development easier. For example, land by Braddan primary school will be zoned for housing whereas land by the Isle of Man Business Park (Cycle 360) will be zoned for commercial developments. A space by Riley’s Garden Centre is the suggested site of a technology park.

Tynwald

In Tynwald Ray Harmer, the Minister behind the plan, spoke to encourage members to support it, saying the plan is ‘critical in the armoury of government in moving the island forward’ and would provide clarity for developers and residents.

Of course, the plan didn’t just breeze through Tynwald, several members rose to attack it and criticise the methodology by which it was created, the public inquiry, the impact the area plan will have on people’s lives and the environment and the loss of some of the island’s beautiful greenery.

Douglas East MHK Clare Barber was also successful in attaching a series of amendments to the plan. Mrs B’s changes don’t impact on the plan itself, but rather adds some caveats to its implementation.

While not binding, Tynwald has said it wants the government (likely to be the next one, hello General Election 2021, we see you on the horizon) to ‘consider’ using its powers to release one of the reserve sites in the plan and to allow Tynwald to voice its opinion on that.

Mrs B’s amendments will also see a centralised list of government owned sites, with a focus on those brownfield sites which need developing (such as Summerland and Park Road School).

What’s next?

While the Area Plan for the East has now completed its journey through Tynwald, the government is busying itself with the combined North and West Plan. This plan will stretch from Patrick (including Gef’s backyard of Dalby) to Andreas and from Peel across to Maughold.