The local authority in Castletown will stand independently in the appeal against the rejection of the latest plan for Callow’s Yard and has hired the service of planning expert Keith Hargest, who is based in Scotland.
At their meeting on June 16, the commissioners discussed whether they should join other interested parties in fighting the appeal, or do it independently.
There have been a series of plans to convert the failed town centre development from retail to residential use, prompting two public meetings and the formation of a Residents’ and Traders’ Association to give the town a voice for its issues relating to the development.
The latest plan (14/00338/B) includes retaining retail use on the ground floor of shops on Arbory Street and was supported by just two commissioners. The majority opposed it because of parking and over-intensive use, the same reasons for which planning turned it down.
Cornerstone Architects appealed against this decision and the appeal will begin at 9.30am on July 16.
Chairman Richard McAleer said they should ‘go alone’ to avoid any suggestion of ‘collusion’. But Kevin Weir disagreed, saying: ‘We should go collected, there is strength in numbers.’
This was reitereated byAndrew Thomas, who said: ‘We should go together and the commissioners should pay for this [expert representation], this board in previous incarnations got us into this trouble. The town is not happy with this drip, drip of applications – we want to represent the town.’
Colin Leather said he supported the plan and people in the town are ‘happy the shops [in the latest plan] have been saved’.
But Mr Weir said at the public meeting the authority had the ‘clear mandate to fight and fund it’.
He said to Mr Leather: ‘You are totally biased, you have always been, since 2005 [when the development was first proposed] you have been totally opposed to anything against Callow’s Yard.’
Mr Leather said: ‘I just want this town to be busy and full of shops.’
He proposed the authority represent its own views at appeal and was seconded by Alwyn Collister.
Mr Weir proposed and amendment, that they join with other interested parties; he was seconded by Mr Thomas but got no further support.
The original proposal was supported by Dorothy Faragher, Mr Collister, Peter Hill-Heaton, Mr McAleer and Mr Leather, so passed