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Area Plan for the South comes into operation 1 March 2013

On Friday 1st March, the Department of Infrastructure published the Area Plan for the South, following Tynwald approval last month.

The comprehensive Plan, which went through several consultation stages as well as a Public Inquiry in 2011, is now effectively ‘in operation’ and replaces the current set of development plans in the South, produced between 1982 and 1999. The production of this Plan meets 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 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 and cater for population and economic growth, against the need to both protect the countryside and stimulate renewal and confidence within our existing urban areas. The sites identified for development as ‘proposal sites’ largely relate to new sites, and were chosen after a thorough site selection process. They are considered to be the best and most sustainable sites, each having a detailed development brief setting out what will be expected as part of any future Planning Application.

The Plan includes 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 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 for Infrastructure David Cretney MHK welcomed the publication of the Plan.

He said: ‘The Plan sets out the best opportunities for development 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 the 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.’

Departmental Member for Planning, Howard Quayle MHK also made a statement. He said “The new Area Plan is a positive step towards securing homes, economic development and environmental protection in the South. It reduces the number of development plans applicable in the South from five to one and, together with the Strategic Plan, provides a clear and concise planning framework for the South. The Department can now move on to bringing up to date the planning policies and proposals for the rest of the Island.”

The Department has confirmed that a Partial Review of the Strategic Plan will be tackled next taking into account the findings of the 2011 Census. This will be closely followed by the Area Plan for the East.

Copies of the Area Plan for the South can be obtained, priced £14, from the Department of Infrastructure’s Murray House Offices in Douglas. It is also available to view at these offices or at the Tynwald Library. The Plan can also be accessed free of charge from the Department’s website at http://www.gov.im/transport/planning/plan/southernplan.xml

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