From a walking track to a skateboarding ramp, an appeal by Rushen Parish Commissioners last November for ideas about use of the recreational land at Ballakilley provoked a good response, said commissioners’ clerk Gill Kelly.
Heritage Homes plans to build 155 dwellings on the land, which borders Port Erin and Rushen. Most of the development falls in Rushen parish including two fields – in Ballafesson Road (between Ponyfields and The Barracks Cottage) and in Church Road (beside Rushen parish church burial ground) – that are earmarked for recreational use.
When the land was first zoned for recreational use, some 20 years ago, the authority set up the Ballakilley Working Party (BWP) and invited representatives from Port Erin and Port St Mary commissioners, the burial ground authority and Southern Nomads rugby club.
The authority wants there to be a BMX track, providing children with a safe area in which to play on their bikes. Having viewed the rugby facilities and BMX track at Mooragh, Ramsey, they hope to create a similar unfenced area – for use by everyone at all times – at Ballakilley.
They also envisage pathways where people can walk and seating. Part of the field by the churchyard is to be used for an extension to the burial ground and also a car park for the church.
Ideas for uses included a playground, sports hall, walking/running track (made of wood), children’s play area for all ages (suggested by The Children’s Centre), a BMX track, and a skateboarding ramp.
Local rugby club Southern Nomads also has a claim over some of the land and discussions are ongoing with the club about how much land it requires. Ideas include making the clubhouse multi-use, for occasional use by organisations such as Rushen Parish Church, which at present has no hall.
‘Things are moving forward,’ said Mrs Kelly. ‘Depending on tree planting and the plan being approved and when the trees are planted, we may have the land in six to nine months, we can have the plans drawn up and be ready to go.’
Southern Nomads’ Hugh Logan said: ‘We have been raising money ourselves through Sport Erin [a charity] and have a reasonable amount of money.’
He added making a pitch takes time, ‘you have got to prepare it, it takes a good season to get it ready’.
He hopes the area could be ready to play on by 2015.