An open day is being held on Saturday between 10am and 2pm at 6 Arbory Street, Castletown to help inform the public of plans for the proposed redevelopment of Callow’s Yard (CY).
Graham Cregeen MHK, the Department of Economic Development’s political member with responsibility for retail and regeneration schemes said: ‘The department is committed to promoting the regeneration of Castletown for the benefit of its residents, businesses and the very many visitors who come to the town every year.
‘Following on from the concerns raised at the recent commissioners’ meeting, the subsequent request for a public meeting by Castletown Commissioners and in the interests of encouraging a better relationship between all parties, I asked Mr Tilleard to consider hosting an open day so that Castletown residents and interested parties can see first-hand what the plans for Callow’s Yard are.
‘Mr Tilleard has kindly agreed to this so I would urge all Castletown residents and interested parties to attend this event so that they can get further information on the redevelopment plans and enable them to ask questions and get immediate feedback.
‘Callow’s Yard architect Tony Lloyd-Davies and Property Manager Jane Hill will be on hand to discuss the plans and to show visitors around the complex.
‘The current site layout and proposed plans will also be on display along with additional supporting information.’
Commissioners’ chairman Kevin Weir welcomed the open day, but said another public meeting to discuss the latest planning application for CY will ‘definitely’ take place. The meeting will be held at 7pm on April 15 in Castletown civic centre; developer Roy Tilleard has been invited.
The requisition meeting was requested by 30 residents who signed a letter which said they had called the meeting because the latest application came ‘not long after the withdrawal of two earlier applications’.
Also they are ‘concerned that government support for conversion of the upper storeys of Callow’s Yard into residential’ (which Mr Cregeen said is in line with the Southern Area Plan) may lead to the entire Callow’s Yard becoming a dormitory establishment, with attendant social disruption, and that this could damage retail prospects for the town.’
Also dealing with the ‘endless stream’ of applications for CY drains the authority’s time and energy.
Another reason is because Mr Tilleard was invited, but did not attend, the last public meeting to discuss CY. And finally because the recent applications ‘paid no heed to the Southern Area Plan and wishing to ensure that any future development is within the guidelines of this plan and contributes to the vitality and the economic viability of the town.’
At the February 11 public meeting, 170 members of the public expressed their opposition to a series of plans to alter the retail units in CY to residential use saying they would ‘fundamentally alter’ the town. Mr Tilleard has since withdrawn one plan and put on hold another.
Last Monday, April 7, 30 members of the public attended the commissioners’ meeting; Mr Tilleard was also present.
Vice chairman Andrew Thomas proposed they hold a public meeting, he was seconded by Dorothy Faragher.
Colin Leather proposed an amendment and said they have had a public meeting, they should make a decision on the latest plan and move on. However nobody seconded his amendment and the original proposal was passed.
The board then reconvened the meeting (discussion about the public meeting was held in the civic centre hall to accommodate the public) and moved to the boardroom.
Mr Leather said the members of the public were ‘rent a mob’, but Mr Weir said: ‘To label them that was disgusting, they were ladies and gentlemen. They are genuine people.’
Mr Weir said the public meeting needs to happen as soon as possible and said they should not ask planning for an extension to the decision deadline over the plan, which is on April 25.
‘They are concerned citizens, they want to know the way forward, all they really want is for Mr Tilleard to explain what his plan is. There is nothing untoward or sinister (about inviting Mr Tilleard to the meeting).’
Resident Johnny Kipps wrote the requisition meeting letter and said: ‘I have nothing personal against Mr Tilleard, I’m just interested in Castletown … It would be tremendous if he came, residents want to hear from him how we have got to where we are and what are his plans for the future ...
We want CY to succeed, it will be there long after any of us have moved on. There is a huge number of skilled people in town and a great amount of good will, Mr Tilleard could tap into this well spring.’