The latest plan for Callow’s Yard has been put on hold by applicant Roy Tilleard.
The plan (14/00007/B) by Mr Tilleard promises to fundamentally alter the nature of the town centre by turning it from retail to residential agreed residents who attended a packed public meeting on February 11.
Last Monday, February 17, the local authority agreed to object to the application – despite the fact it is on hold, it is still ‘active’ – and will request that one comprehensive plan for Callow’s Yard is drawn up.
Castletown Commissioners’ chairman Kevin Weir said the plan was a step ‘too far’ for the people of Castletown.
At the meeting, the public voted unanimously against the plan and so did the individual commissioners that were there.
Mr Weir said last Monday that Mr Tilleard’s agent requested a meeting with the local authority and ‘selected parties’.
‘What is on the table I have no idea. Roy Tilleard has asked planning for a postponement of the closing date for objections to the plan
‘An advisor in government said just get it [the authority’s decision] in. The public gave us their opinion. We have put in the marker we are concerned about this.’
Commissioner Alwyn Collister said: ‘It was improper us being asked to take a vote [at the public meeting]. We should have had the right to discuss this ourselves.’
Clerk Eddie Convery pointed out: ‘This is the fourth meeting at which this application has been discussed.’
Mr Weir said it would be better for the board to agree their opposition beforehand to present a united front at the meeting, ‘without that we go into the meeting with him on the back foot.’ Then they could try to find some ‘common ground’ with Mr Tilleard.
Commissioner Colin Leather said: ‘It’s very easy to say we want retailing to stay, but when there are empty shops where do we go from here?’
Commissioner Richard McAleer proposed they object to the plan and he was seconded by commissioner Andrew Thomas.
The authority’s letter of objection, done in consultation with a planning specialist, said the proposal, ‘would significantly undermine the vitality, viability, diversity and character of the town’. There were also concerns about car parking and it being contrary to area plans.
Mr Weir said when they meet Mr Tilleard, they will also invite the town’s traders, heritage group and MHK Richard Ronan.
Although it will be held in private, the minutes – normally also kept private – will be made public.
Everyone who was at the public meeting has the right to know what was discussed, said Mr Weir. ‘Mr Tilleard takes it or leaves it on that basis. If he makes a statement, that’s fine.’
He added, given Mr Ronan’s commitments with Tynwald this week, it would be best to hold it after this week.
‘Because the application is on hold, there is no need for it to be this week. It would be advantageous for all to be present.’
Mr Thomas said: ‘We should ask Mr Tilleard to withdraw all the planning applications as a gesture of good faith. Then the whole of planning at Callow’s Yard could be explained ... I would like them removed and explained. After that we should make sure there is one comprehensive plan not just a series – drip, drip, drip, like water on stone. This [the comprehensive plan] could be agreed by all stakeholders. The feeling in that room [when there was the public meeting] was incredible.’
Commissioner David Parnell added: ‘All stakeholders should come to the meeting with no preconceived ideas, there should be a clean slate.’
Mr Thomas said: ‘We have all got to come with a view to making the future work.’