Group set up to investigate ‘property blight’ homes

One of the Cambar-Mantis homes in Friary Park

One of the Cambar-Mantis homes in Friary Park

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A working group has been set up to investigate concerns over a potential property blight.

iomtoday reported in March that banks have become unwilling to lend on certain prefabricated concrete panel bungalows built in the 1970s.

There are some 400 to 440 such ‘Cambar-Mantis’ properties in the island.

The three Rushen MHKs last week wrote to residents on one of the estates with these homes – Friary Park in Ballabeg – promising to deal with the issue as a matter of urgency.

They wrote: ‘As your MHKs we realise this will have caused a great deal of distress over the value of your property and want to achieve certainty.’

A working group has been set up, chaired by Castletown MHK Richard Ronan – a builder by trade – and comprising chartered surveyors and professionals from the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Treasury.

It is expect to report back in the next couple of months.

Rushen MHK Juan Watterson said: ‘We have asked staff at the Department of Infrastructure, Treasury and Housing to look at the veracity of the claims and counter claims.

‘We wrote to all residents of Friary Park to assure them this is being investigated as a matter of urgency as it has the potential to dramatically impact on house prices.

‘However, we have learned that the Isle of Man Bank has accepted it is business as usual so this bodes well, but we need to get all of the loose ends tied up to prevent a recurrence of this sort of concern in future.’

Mr Ronan said he would have no hesitation in buying one of the Cambar homes himself, insisting they were built to a very high standard.

He said: I’ve worked on these houses many times in the past and I can assure you they are excellent homes. I’m confident any issues the remaining lenders have will be resolved. It’s very important that we resolve this issue.

‘These are people’s lives we are talking about. They bought these houses with a surveyor’s report in good faith. If I chose to downsize I would buy one.’

Stuart Chivers, head of mortgages for Isle of Man Bank, said: ‘RBS International, which incorporates both Isle of Man Bank and NatWest, continues to lend at the standard loan to value levels on the properties referred to.

‘As with all property this is subject to application and a suitable valuation report on each individual property which will reflect the specific nature, market value and quality of each property. The bank continues to support the local community with an obligation to lend responsibly.’

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