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Strategic Plan for the Island moves a step closer 26 April 2007

The Department of Local Government and the Environment has published the modifications it proposes to make to the Draft Strategic Plan. The modifications arise from the Department’s consideration of the report of the Inspector appointed to conduct the Public Inquiry into the Draft Plan in March 2005.

The Strategic Plan provides the overarching planning policies to guide development and safeguard the environment of the Island up to 2016. It forms one part of the overall Development Plan, the others being the 4 Area Plans which will focus on a particular part of the Island and set out site specific proposals for new development and environmental protection. Once the Strategic Plan has been approved the Department will start work on the Area Plans.

In his report the Inspector made 160 recommendations, most of which supported the changes already proposed by the Department in response to the various representations received to the original draft plan. His main recommendations related to the Island Spatial Strategy, where he recommended the Department undertake studies of housing and employment land availability and the transport implications of the level of development proposed in the plan.

The Department has now concluded these studies and incorporated their findings into a Modified Draft Plan along with the other modifications. Population and household estimates have also been reviewed in the light of the 2006 census. The main findings of the studies are that:

• in light of the revised population and household projections, the overall number of new homes to be built between 2001 and 2016 has been increased from 5400 to 6000.

• planning permission has already been granted for 4100 new houses between 2001 and 2006.

• of these some 2700 have already been built.

• the proposed distribution of homes across the Island has been amended. The comparison with the proposed distribution from the 2004 draft plan is:

2004 Plan 2007 Plan

North 1000 1200

South 1000 1200

East 2500 2500

West 900 1000

Total 5400 6000

• Some 115 hectares of land are available for new development for employment purposes. This is spread across the Island with the majority around Douglas and Ballasalla/Ronaldsway.

• Although traffic congestion will increase, the junctions most affected either have improvement schemes proposed or under investigation.

• The Spatial Strategy and associated explanatory diagram have been amended to better illustrate the spatial element of the Strategic Plan.

The proposed modifications have been published and are available at the Department’s office and on the website http://www.gov.im/dlge/planning/plan/strategic.xml. The Department has also published a document setting out a response to all the Inspector’s recommendations. Copies of both these documents are being sent to those who made representations on the Draft Plan. Should they wish to make further representations they should do so by 25th May 2007.

Any representations received will be considered by the Department. The Department is hopeful that the Strategic Plan can be placed on the July Tynwald agenda for approval.

John Shimmin, MHK, Minister for Local Government and the Environment, said:

“I am very pleased to see the Draft Strategic Plan move forward to the next stage. We will give careful consideration to any representations or comments received by the Department.”

Ian McCauley, Director of Planning and Building Control said,

“The additional survey work recommended by the Inspector demonstrates that the policies in the Strategic Plan are well founded and will provide the long term guidance needed to ensure new development meets the future needs of the Island’s communities and safeguards the environment.”

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