A HEALTH and safety inspection of Maine Road, Port Erin, will be requested by the local authority after which a meeting of relevant residents will be convened to discuss a way to progress the issue of the unadopted road.
The decision follows the latest in a series of letters about the road sent to the authority by residents.
Three residents were granted a reduction in their rates because of, among other things, the unkempt condition of McArd’s builders’ yard, said the local authority, which asked McArd director Keith McArd to tidy up.
If other properties also get rate reductions, it will impact on the income of the village, they said. Mr McArd replied that the authority should have appeared at the Rent and Rating Appeal and appealed against the decision to grant these three residents a reduction in their rate.
The authority offered him the use of its car park to store three of the four portable cabins currently in Maine Road for six months.
Mr McArd turned down the offer and said the cost of moving them there was ‘quite considerable and then if we have no new work after six months, we incur the cost of moving them again’.
Resident Norman Osbaldeston wrote a letter enclosing photographs comparing Maine Road with other streets in the village.
He said the portable cabins, building machinery, assorted iron and concrete girders ‘strewn on the verge upon which the public and children can injure themselves … [are] making our lives a complete misery’.
Offering space for three portable cabins is ‘inadequate’ he wrote. ‘It is clear McArd’s builders have a complete and absolute disregard for the neighbours of their yard and their amenity,’ he wrote.
He asked the authority to service notice, (under Local Government Act 1984 Section 14 (1) and 24 (1), to urge Mr McArd to move the items and ‘store them safely in a more suitable industrial location or indeed internally within the security of their yard as all other building companies are compelled to do’.
On February 5, commissioner Phil Crellin said: ‘I have every sympathy with the residents. When their houses were built they were left to hang out in the wind. It [an unadopted road] is an anomaly you would like to think would be quickly sorted out, it’s not going to be sorted out because of the expense of building a road. The department is strapped for cash, it’s not a priority.
‘Residents can do it, but unfortunately it would cost a lot. I’m sure some would like it done, but some would not. You come to an impasse.’
He said he has appeared at two hearings in the past and both have failed. He said: ‘If we do not get an environmental health officer to say in his professional opinion it is injurious, we will lose that hearing.’
He suggested a way forward and said: ‘Perhaps we should get all the residents together and ask an environmental health officer to come down. That [meeting] would have to include Mr McArd. We should try to get something out of it first before we start to threaten legal action.
‘Let the environmental health officer listen to opinions and we would ask him to appear for us if it went to court.’
He added: ‘If the department said they will adopt the road, it would be sorted overnight.’
Commissioner Lorna MacKellar said that while Maine Road is unadopted, it is still ‘designated a road’.
‘Temporary vehicles are on the pavement,’ she said, ‘they are not trucks being parked, they [the portable cabins] are buildings.’ She said that if Mr AcArd should get planning permission for having the the cabins in the road.
Commissioners’ chairman Ged Power said convening a meeting with an environment health officer was ‘an excellent idea’.
Mr Crellin proposed they contact an environmental health officer and request an assessment is made of Maine Road to see, ‘is it injurious to the district’.
He said once they have got a report they should initiate a meeting between residents.
Ms MacKellar asked that they also investigate, ‘the legality of portable cabins’.
Mr Crellin and Ms MacKellar’s proposals were supported by the board of commissiners.