Callow’s Yard developer Roy Tilleard is unable to attend a public meeting next Tuesday to discuss his plan to turn retail units in the town centre development to residential.
A public meeting is not necessary, he said, as the commissioners – the town’s elected representatives – should make any decision to support the plan or not.
He was invited to speak at the meeting about the plan (14/00007/B) for alterations and change of use of existing residential/commercial premises to provide additional residential accommodation at 6 to 26 Arbory Street – and to answer questions from members of the public. His architect, Tony Lloyd Davies of Cornerstone Architects Ltd, has offered to attend instead.
After the plan provoked so much controversy in the town, commissioners’ chairman Kevin Weir said the meeting was necessary.
Mr Weir said the ‘tone’ of Mr Tilleard’s comments on Manx Radio’s Mandate programme had ‘upset people’.
Mr Tilleard said the town was suffering from a ‘major decline’ in offices and retail, meaning many empty shops, and the alternative was tourist or residential use.
Mr Weir responded there are still many good shops in the town offering great service and that it is still open for business.
Last Wednesday, Mr Tilleard emailed Mr Weir and said: ‘It appears that you have unilaterally decided to hold a public meeting without consulting me and have then openly disclosed this on Manx Radio, which is unsatisfactory and unprofessional.
‘I do not see the need for a public meeting as you are the elected representatives of Castletown and are able to make your own decisions.’
He said the Tesco alcohol licensing application – on which hung the supermarket’s decision on whether or not to open an Express store at Callow’s Yard – was a ‘far more important matter for Castletown, but you chose to decide the matter behind closed doors with no public meeting, so it cannot now be necessary to hold a public meeting for a residential planning application’.
‘The future of Callow’s Yard will be decided by me, not by the commissioners or by a public meeting,’ he added.