Chairman’s statement regarding Castletown Housing Land Review

Following an interview I had in my capacity as Chairman of Castletown Town Commissioners (CTC) with Manx Radio, recent media reports have focused on the frustrations the Board in relation to the weight given to the Castletown Housing Land Review (CHLR) in determining Planning Application 18/00987/B (Erection of 48 dwellings with associated access, parking, open space and landscaping adjacent to Knock Rushen).

I wish to inform the ratepayers of Castletown that the Board has resolved to appeal against the decision. It should be noted that the appeal submitted by CTC is independent of the appeal submitted by the applicant Hartford Homes.

The area plan for the South, adopted by the Department of Infrastructure in 2012, accepted that there was the potential for additional land to be released for housing in the wider Castletown area. The Department stated that it was committed to undertaking a timely partial review of the Area Plan to examine the potential for additional allocations in the Castletown area and specifically noted that this would allow a re-assessment of the land at Great Meadow and Knock Rushen.

CTC fully supported and engaged with the Department of Infrastructure and subsequently the Cabinet Office during the land review process in the belief that this exercise was intrinsically linked to the statement contained within the area plan for the South and as such would carry appropriate weight during planning determinations. It was therefore disappointing to learn that this was not the position taken by the Planning Committee.

The Commissioners believe that there is no option other than to lodge an appeal against this element of the decision, on the basis that the CHLR has not been given sufficient weight during consideration of the application, potentially prejudicing future applications which may be on sites identified during the review. My Board members have also resolved to seek clarity on the intent of the Cabinet Office throughout the lengthy CHLR process and have written to Minister Thomas in this regard.

Regardless of present debate about population numbers island wide, Castletown continues to suffer from a clearly identified acute shortage of development land required to sustain its viability, vitality and growth. As Chairman of the Castletown Town Commissioners, both I and my board members will continue to fight for the Castletown Housing Land Review to receive the recognition and status that it deserves.

Richard McAleer

Chairman of Castletown Town Commissioners

Wednesday, 21 August 2019