KIRK Michael residents opposed to Heritage Homes’ planning application to build 95 homes on land next to Michael School are celebrating after it was thrown out by the Council of Ministers.
The developer has said it will now look to progress an alternative housing scheme for the site.
The controversial scheme was dependent on a land-swap deal, agreed by Tynwald in 2011, involving part of the school’s corner field being conveyed to landowner Pinecrest Investments to afford access to the development.
CoMin followed planning inspector Ruth MacKenzie’s recommendation that the application be refused.
It was ruled the development would ‘neither preserve nor enhance the character or the appearance of the Kirk Michael Conservation Area and would detrimentally affect important views out of the conservation area’.
In addition, it was decided the location of the junction of the proposed estate road at Douglas Road Corner could ‘prejudice future decisions about a possible relief road for Michael’.
Michael MHK Alfred Cannan said: ‘I am pleased for the residents, in particular the residents’ group who put together a thoughtful, detailed and at times inspiring defence of the right to have this thrown out. But it’s been going on for a year and a half. It should never have got to this stage.’
He said questions needed to be asked on whether CoMin was right to have allowed the developer to come back with a second application, saying: ‘It was refused on exactly the same grounds’.
Heritage Homes’ initial plan (11/01250/B) for the same site for 100 dwellings – with associated infrastructure, new school field and playground, public open space and landscaping – was refused in February 2012.
Former Michael MHK David Cannan said: ‘I am absolutely delighted for the people of Kirk Michael that the iconic Douglas Road corner entrance to Kirk Michael has been preserved.
‘I hope this is now the end of the matter.
‘This battle started in 2007 and my fight was carried on by Alfred when I retired. This has been rejected twice. I hope that [developer] Dandara will not pursue this matter further.’
A Heritage Homes spokesman said: ‘Despite the disappointing outcome of this application the land remains zoned for residential development.
‘We will continue to work with the landowner and other parties to try and progress an alternative scheme for this site that will help to meet the need for new housing as recognised by the inspector.’
The inspector said 95 dwellings, including 24 affordable units ‘would meet a need’.