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New Area Plan for the South goes before Tynwald for Approval 7 February 2013

The Department of Infrastructure’s Area Plan for the South will go before Tynwald this month for approval.

Minister for Infrastructure, David Cretney MHK, has announced that the Area Plan for the South has been formally ‘Adopted’ by the Department, which means the Written Statement and the associated maps can now progress to the next sitting of Tynwald for final debate and approval.

The Plan, which has been through a number of consultation stages as well as a Public Inquiry in 2011, will replace the current set of development plans in the South which were produced between 1982 and 1999. The production of this Plan is seen very much as the Department meeting the Government’s ‘Agenda for Change’ by ensuring that economic development is supported through an up-to-date planning policy framework for the South of the Island.

This comprehensive, single new Plan is based on a ‘Vision for the South’ at the heart of which is the aim to strengthen and protect the identity of individual settlements, to carefully manage growth and development, and to preserve the landscape and integral natural, cultural and historic environments.

The Plan balances the need to develop new sites, to cater for population and economic growth, against the need to both protect the countryside and to stimulate renewal and confidence within our existing urban areas. Those sites identified for development as ‘proposal sites’ largely relate to new sites, but have made it into the Plan only after a thorough site selection process. They are considered to be the best and most sustainable sites; each one having a detailed development brief setting out what will be expected as part of any future planning application.

There are opportunities for:

• Residential development including affordable housing;

• The managed release of new employment land and residential sites through the use of ‘Strategic Reserve’ sites (sites for release in the longer term);

• A new distributor road to bypass the centre of Ballasalla between Glashen Hill and Balthane corner, releasing land for industrial use, residential use and open space;

• A review of housing land allocations in Castletown once the implications of the new household projections (revealed by the 2011 Census) are fully understood; and

• The development of schools in the South. By the allocation of and protection of land around them and in the case of Ballasalla School, the identification of a possible new location as part of the Crossag Farm development.

The Plan also protects the South’s retail centres and the vitality of town and village centres generally. Furthermore it recognises the importance of retaining the key local hotels and tourist destinations. Minister Cretney has welcomed the release of the Adopted Plan. He said: “The Plan sets out the best opportunities for development in the South but does so whilst protecting all that is special about the environment in the South. There have been difficult issues to overcome but all of the opportunities for additional land release are focused in, or on edge of, existing settlements and employment centres. The approach is for managed and sustainable growth and is one which I fully support for the existing and future communities, who live, work and have business interests in the South.”

Tynwald’s consideration of the Plan is due to take place between 19th and 21st February 2013. If approved, the Area Plan for the South will come into operation on 1st March 2013. Anyone interested in viewing the Tynwald papers in respect of the Area Plan are asked to contact the Tynwald Library or visit their website at http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/opqp/Pages/ByYear19972020.aspx

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