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Southern Area Plan - Publication of the Issues And Options Report 28 July 2008

The Department of Local Government and the Environment has published the Issues and Options report for the Southern Area Plan.

Following the approval of the Strategic Plan by Tynwald last July, the Southern Plan will be the first of a new generation of Area Plans, and will cover Rushen, Port Erin, Port St Mary, Arbory, Castletown, and Malew. A separate Plan for the East will be started next year, to be followed by Plans for the West and the North. http://admin.gov.im/addnews.aspx#

In January, the Department published and distributed a leaflet – “Planning our Island’s future – Together” – in which it explained this general process and invited everyone to get involved by sending in their contact details and indicating what they thought were the main issues for the South. Over 500 responses were received, which have proved very helpful in compiling the current report, and have also demonstrated that there is now considerable interest in Plan-making. A summary of these responses is available from the Department.

The Issues and Options report sets out the background to the principal topics which will be considered in the Plan –

Housing

Business and Tourism

Transport, Infrastructure and Utilities

The Environment

Sport, Recreation, Open Space and Community Facilities

Minerals, Energy and Waste (although a separate, all-Island Minerals Plan is to be prepared).

There are also short chapters on each of the settlements and parishes in the South, identifying issues which are specific to those places.

The Department is inviting written representations with respect to any of the matters referred to in the report, and these can be submitted by post or electronically.

In addition the Department is also publishing three major all-Island studies and reports.

The first, the Site Assessment Framework has been developed to aid the production of the Southern Area Plan but will also be used to inform plan production across the whole Island. It sets out a series of criteria, formulated by independent consultants against which all potential development sites will be assessed. To accompany the report there is a Site Identification Form, on which landowners and developers can identify land for inclusion in the process. All such sites will be assessed by reference to the standard criteria and the most suitable will be incorporated into the Draft Area Plan. Copies of this Site Assessment Framework and the Site Identification Form are available from the Department.

Also being published is a report on Landscape Character Assessment, which is an assessment of the Island’s landscape identifying different categories and so enabling the introduction of appropriate management and policies for each. Copies of this report are available from the Department.

Finally, the Department has produced the first annual update of the residential land availability data for the whole of the Island. This updates where planning permission has been granted, where work has started on site and how much allocated land is still available for development. Copies of this report are available from the Department.

In the Foreword to the Issues & Options report, John Shimmin MHK, Minister for Local Government and the Environment, states that the Department “was delighted and impressed by the number and nature of the responses to the leaflet, and hopes that this level of interest will be maintained or exceeded in this next stage [of the process]”. He adds that “whilst it is unlikely that we will be able to prepare a Plan that keeps everyone happy, we shall stand a better chance if you have made us aware of your views”.

The closing date for receipt of representations is the 24th October 2008. The Department will then analyse the responses, prepare a Draft Plan, and, within 12 months, publish it for further consultation.

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