‘Mixed response’ to planning policy reforms

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A MAJORITY of respondents opposed the Department of Infrastructure’s proposed planning policy reforms.

Some 150 responses were received in a consultation on a draft policy statement on planning and the economy.

It sets out how development will take place, and features a greater presumption in favour of development to clear away impediments to economic growth.

In a summary of responses, it states responses were ‘mixed’, adding: ‘While there was a significant number that openly supported it, there was slightly more that did not support it.’

Fifty comments were opposed to the policy statement while 18 were in support. There was a ‘general consensus’ there should be a strong, stable and productive economy, and that a fast, efficient and responsive planning system was desirable. But many said they were against short term economic gain over longer term environmental damage as a result.

Concern was raised encouraging planning officers and inspectors to favour applications which could have economic benefits in areas outside those identified for specific uses in area plans, was the start of a two tier system.

The department said there was ‘a level of uncertainty’ over the reference of a ‘presumption in favour of development’, saying it had been implemented in the planning process for many years.

The DoI plans to produce a final version of the planning policy statement, which requires Tynwald approval.

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