Inquiry into Michael homes plan to resume

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THE inquiry into Heritage Homes’ controversial plan to build 95 houses behind Michael School, in Kirk Michael, will resume in October.

The hearing will take place at Ebenezer Hall, in Kirk Michael, at 10am on October 4.

The developers’ original plan (11/01250/B) for an estate with 100 houses was turned down in February.

It followed a planning inquiry, with the Council of Ministers agreeing with an independent planning inspector’s recommendation that the proposal be refused.

In his report inspector Alan Langton said: ‘On overall balance I recommend against this scheme, both on its own merits and because the road access should be determined only following a firm decision one way or the other regarding a bypass.’

Heritage Homes then submitted a new application, this time for five fewer homes on the same site.

A land-swap deal, struck between the Department of Education and Children and Heritage Homes over the development and agreed to by Tynwald, remains in place.

It would see the department convey 0.63 acres of Michael School’s corner field to the landowner, to afford access to a new housing development.

In return it would receive 2.01 acres of land to the north and east (rear) of the school site.

The developer would create a new sports pitch, hard play area and boundary works, including ball-stop fencing, boundary fencing, gates, walls, ramps, paths and landscaping at no cost to the DEC.

Earlier this year a Tynwald select committee was set up to investigate the land-swap deal following a call from Michael MHK Alfred Cannan. He argued there were questions to be addressed over how the deal came to be signed by then Education Minister Eddie Teare MHK in August 2011.

He denied any suggestion value for money hadn’t been achieved, saying the deal was the best arrangement for the taxpayer.

Mr Teare confirmed Heritage Homes had access to land zoned for a housing development near Michael School as an alternative to forming an access to Douglas Road through the school’s playing field.

Former Michael MHK David Cannan had previously accused Mr Teare and the department of failing to take out checks on the alternative access.

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