PLANS for a marine recreational facility at Traie Meanagh pool in Port Erin are ‘not feasible’ said the local authority, which has objected to the scheme.
The scheme (11/00705/B) by Steve Bradshaw is to develop the site – operated as a swimming pool and then fish farm until 1990 – as a facility comprising berths for small boats, hotel, restaurant, shop and manager’s flat.
A water taxi from the Raglan pier would bring customers – who could include yacht owners, extreme sports enthusiasts and those on training exercises for the RNLI – across the bay. Access would also be possible using the coastal path.
The commissioners were split on the decision, half supported the scheme, but the casting vote was made in opposition by vice chairman Jean Pierre Depin (who acted as chairman in Dave Bennett’s absence) who said the primary concerns were lack of car parking and the over-intensity of the scheme.
‘We do not think it’s feasible,’ said Mr Depin, speaking after last week’s board meeting. ‘We want something to happen, but something that is sensible and possible to happen . . . I’m worried about the practicality of the proposal.’
Resident John Taylor, who lives above the site, also objected and wrote a similar scheme was rejected some years ago. This scheme ‘would completely ruin the beauty of the natural coastline’. He also worried about noise.
‘The concept of a “marina” is absurd in the area of a small swimming pool, how many boats would be accommodated in this area?’ he wrote. He added that the main reason for the application was to build a hotel. He found it hard to believe hotel guests would be delivered there by boat as boats are restricted by tide changes.
‘I am sure no guest would want to wait for hours before they could be transported to the hotel. Also nearly all visitors would want their cars close by,’ he said. This would create a car parking problem as Traie Meanagh Drive is ‘a narrow lane’.
‘The old pool is part of the history of Port Erin, and should be allowed to be developed by the elements, and not by the wishes of commercial companies or individuals who are determined to ruin the most attractive coastline on the Isle of Man for their selfish commercial gains,’ he wrote.
Struggling to understand the opposition of the plan, Hugh Logan Architects issued a statement on behalf of Mr Bradshaw and said the plan identified 80 parking spaces in the upper promenade and Spaldrick area plus a further 80 by the Raglan Pier.
They estimate the maximum demand in peak summer periods would be for 21 parking spaces in each location.
Given the recent development of apartment blocks with on-site parking in the area, local demand is ‘therefore likely to have lessened’.
They added: ‘The development of this site for a tourism and recreation use as proposed will go a long way to reversing the trend of decline and closure and will be a stimulus to the economic regeneration of Port Erin. It is very difficult to understand why Port Erin Commissioners should wish to oppose such a development.’