GREATER acknowledgement of the economic activity in Port St Mary should be made in the Southern Area Plan and the village should not be ‘a peripheral appendage to the main trunk route’ – the port’s commissioners have told the Department of Infrastructure.
Responses to the draft modified plan were requested by planners by February 25. Commissioners’ clerk Jason Roberts – wrote on February 24 – there are fewer retail outlets in the village compared with Port Erin and Castletown, but retail shops are only one measure of economic activity and resilience.
When the local authority encouraged the formation of the Port St Mary Business Association, 80 businesses were identified within the village. Mr Roberts added: ‘In particular, of the three southern harbours...my commissioners would assert that Port St Mary harbour has the greatest capacity and supports higher and more diverse marine traffic and activity. The harbour area also still retains supporting infrastructure of fish processing, metal working and engineering capacity.’
Because of limited availability of land, the refurbishment and reuse of existing, older buildings, is required he wrote. Key sites are the former Bay Queen Hotel, the commissioners’ workshop/store and the old warehouse on the corner of Lime Street and Loch Road, which adjoins ‘equally strategic Hudson’s Yard’.
There should be ‘greater acknowledgement’ in the plan of the level of economic activity in Port St Mary and the harbour’s key role as an active, working all-weather harbour for a variety of marine activities, he said.
The transport links and highway maintenance should reflect the level of economic activity, he wrote.
In the response form, they said a key diagram, Island Spatial Strategy shows the village ‘as a peripheral appendage’, and that there is current concern that Port St Mary has effectively ‘dropped off the map as “terminus” for the bus services’.
Making the village secondary to Port Erin in terms of numbers of services routed did not help to attract more people into the village, he added.