Would residents in Port St Mary donate to a crowdfunding project to challenge the legality of a development at the Underway?
That’s the question being posed by the local authority.
The plan for two houses at the Underway was approved at appeal in 2011. It includes the condition that parking for two cars be built on the foreshore first. Work on the parking area was carried out in October last year.
Commissioners requested then Chief Minister Allan Bell conduct a review because there was considerable disquiet’ about the development.
Chairman Bernadette McCabe wrote: ‘Residents do not want to see our beach used as a car park.’
The authority questioned the title which the developers hold for the foreshore and they pointed out the car parking appears to have been constructed with neither building regulations approval nor a road opening notice being granted.
The authority is also worried about work destabilising the bank which supports the only thoroughfare to the bottom of the village.
Mr Bell referred it to planners who said the plan had gone through the due process, and there is nothing more they would do.
Commissioner Alec Merchant, who has conducted considerable research into the issue, said he had discovered after discussion with an advocate that legal action could cost around £15,000.
He said: ‘I’m not going to ask the board to spend that – but there is a possibility, if enough people are concerned that the development needs to be challenged, that they would support a crowdfunding event.’
At its latest meeting, the authority said it would give the group all the information it has collected.
Ian Skelly asked: ‘If they get to, say, £9,000 and there is not enough, do they have to give it back?’
Chris Kinley said: ‘It would have to have some legal standing.’
Mr Merchant added, because of concerns over the potential impact on the road, this is of interest to ‘anyone living at the bottom of the village’.
He said work already done by the developer means the bank is no longer at a safe gradient of 45 degrees; the authority has the power to request the bank be reinstated to 45 degrees.
‘If it’s not safe, the Department of Infrastructure needs to survey it and inform us,’ said Andy Phair.
Ian Skelly said: ‘It just needs a really wet winter for that to go.’
Residents interested in finding out more about the crowdfunding project should contact Port St Mary commissioners’ office by calling 832101.