Douglas North MHK David Ashford has said the gov needs to get the right balance with its proposed new TT scheudle as the event relies on a lot of good will.
Mr Ashford was speaking during Tynwald where the Chief Minister confirmed a second consultation is needed before the provisional TT23 schedule can be locked in.
Under the proposed changes, there would be more racing during the fortnight, including back to back days during race week. There would also be racing on what is traditionally Mad Sunday and the Senior TT would also be moved to Saturday.
In Tynwald, the Chief, following questions from Jason Moorhouse MHK, said: ‘The 2023 TT race schedule, which has been provisionally published, still has to be formally approved by the Department of Infrastructure. The Department for Enterprise did invite informal public feedback in June 2021 via the Government portal. However, under the Road Races Act as part of the formal ratification process, a further public consultation is required within the 12- month period before the races.’
He added that the consultation will begin in July.
However, even this stance was met with controversy. Lord Bishop Peter Eagles sought assurances that the Sunday closure would still allow people time to attend church, something the Chief Minister confirmed would be case.
David Ashford, turning his attention towards his constituents who become boxed in on race days, only able to access their homes via the access road or by crossing footbridges when roads are closed, asked what consideration had been given to islanders who live inside the course.
Mr Ashford warned: ‘The TT runs on an awful lot of good will of local residents and if we get the balance wrong that goodwill could very quickly dissipate.’
Mr Cannan said he agreed with this, telling Tynwald that it is ‘absolutely critical that – particularly communities that are on the course, of which I have several, or who were impacted – the racing is balanced out with the needs of the community’.
The Chief added: ‘I think as the schedule currently stands, there are gaps within the racing and, arguably, it is not potentially that different from any week of racing that we have had in the past where there have been potential disruptions. It is a change, Mr President. My own personal view is that there is a lot of merit in this consumer consultation that was taken out as to why having this newer format would bring advantages to visitors who prefer to come for shorter periods, would create a greater accessibility potentially for the TT, would potentially increase our visitor numbers and bring huge benefits to the community.
‘Nevertheless, I do not want to prejudge the consultation. I absolutely take his point that the spirit and ethos of the TT very much involves the goodwill of the community as well, and is fundamentally a part of that and I hope the consultation will draw out some of those issues, and of course it is appropriate where there are clear issues identified that we seek to respond and the organisers seek to respond appropriately.’
You can see the proposed schedule here.