PERMISSION has been granted to build on land behind the Bay View Hotel in Port St Mary, despite local authority concerns about road safety.
The local authority appealed against the decision to grant approval to the plan, but failed and said last week that they were ‘disappointed’ with the decision.
This application (10/00770/B for a pair of semi-detached houses by Charles Turner) is the latest in a series of applications to develop the land at The Lhargan. A previous application for one house (08/0391) was approved, while a second for two semi-detached houses (09/1858) was refused at appeal.
This latest plan is similar to the latter plan, but it moves the garage access to one of the properties further away from the corner in the highway and there are four, not six, parking spaces for the hotel.
The local authority said this plan had not addressed issues raised in the previous plan and there are still issues with lack of adequate visibility for drivers emerging from the northernmost parking space and also from parking spaces for the hotel. Moving parking spaces closer to the four intended for the hotel reduces visibility for vehicles entering The Lhargan from Bay View Road. They argued the planning authority said there was very limited visibility to the north and, with a speed limit of 30mph, the proposal would not allow for adequate stopping distances.
Also, the road narrows to five metres at this point, making maneouvering difficult and it is also close to a bend. The area is already short of parking and reducing spaces for the hotel by two would make this worse, they said.
The planning authority said there would be limited visibility for drivers emerging from the parking spaces for the hotel, but parked vehicles on the highway would slow traffic down anyway. While access arrangements ‘are not ideal’ hotel customers could use public transport and services and amenities are nearby.
Highways had no objections to the plan and said vehicles would be ‘unlikely’ to reach 30mph because of road conditions, so the visibility splays requirement could be reduced.
Mr Turner argued that motorists park on the land without the owner’s permission and the land could be fenced off to prevent this. Wheelie-bins could be moved from the area to behind the hotel.
Independent planning inspector David Hollis described the ‘ownership complications’ of the site as being ‘unfortunate’. Building houses would deprive the site of an unofficial parking area and more than the four parking spaces included in the plan.
Mr Hollis said: ‘I was told at the inquiry by the applicant that the appeal site is not owned or controlled by the owners of the hotel; neither is the appeal land legally available for use by the public.’
Permission was previously granted for an application for one house.
Given this, the current scheme is ‘acceptable in principle’ said Mr Hollis.
He understood commissioners’ concerns about road safety, but said the width of the highway and on street parking would make it ‘unlikely’ drivers would reach 30mph.
The parking for the hotel would be used by staff and manager, he said. Hotel customers could use public transport or park elsewhere.
He pointed out that the applicant was not obliged to provide any parking for the hotel.
He summarised the scheme as being acceptable provided conditions be imposed that a low fence or wall should be built between the new houses and hotel parking spaces and that this scheme be approved and completed before the houses are occupied, and that the fence or wall be retained unless the planning authority approves otherwise.
Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK agreed with Mr Hollis and approved the plan.