Don’t split us in two - Onchan authority

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THE local authority in Onchan has complained about plans to cut the area in two under proposals to redraw the House of Keys map.

Under the plans, most of the current Onchan Keys constituency would be part of a constituency provisionally called ‘Onchan Urban’.

But the area around the Birch Hill estate and much of the former parish – with a population of about 2,500 – would be joined with Laxey and Lonan to form an ‘East’ constituency.

Onchan Commissioners thought that the proposal would be detrimental to the community. The board suggested that the review had been performed as a mathematical exercise, with no consideration of culture or common sense.

A public meeting was held in the village on February 15.

Chairman of the commissioners Robin Turton said: ‘The meeting was well attended and the majority were residents of the Birch Hill area. It was obvious from their comments that there was genuine fear that there was going to be a big wedge taken out of the village, destroying some of the community spirit.’

After the public meeting the authority’s chief executive Malcolm Hulme, vice-chair of the commissioners June Kelly and commissioner Kathryn Williams met the Boundary Committee at Government Office.

Mrs Kelly said: ‘We made it quite clear that the people of Onchan were concerned about the proposals. I think we all appreciate that the remit given to the committee by Tynwald is somewhat inflexible but we were sure that other options could be explored.

‘Our suggestions were welcomed by the Boundary Committee and we were encouraged by their careful consideration of our views. It is, unfortunately, inevitable that some small part of Onchan will have to join the “Eastern” constituency in order to balance the numbers but I hope that the committee can now review their proposals to minimise the consequences for our district.’

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