Protest group fears new planning rules could hit farmland

SHRINKING FARMLAND: Save Camlock Committee wants to preserve land for farming use. PHOTO: John Maddrell JM110911 (111).

SHRINKING FARMLAND: Save Camlock Committee wants to preserve land for farming use. PHOTO: John Maddrell JM110911 (111).

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A GROUP which has been campaigning for 25 years to prevent farmland from being turned into a residential development has voiced its concerns on the government’s radical plans to reform the planning system.

The Save Camlork Committee, whose aim is to keep Camlork Farm in Braddan as a ‘viable farming unit’, have submitted amendments they want to see to the draft planning policy, which is out for public consultation until May 4.

The draft policy from government sets out how development will take place in future – and at its heart is a greater presumption in favour of development, in an attempt to stimulate economic growth.

The committee believes house building and construction play a valuable role in the economy ‘but not at the cost of the island’s natural beauty and farming needs’.

The draft planning policy states, in developments proposed outside areas zoned for development, it must be demonstrated by the applicant that alternatives sites, including available land zoned for that purpose, are inappropriate.

The committee has submitted that the applicant must also show ‘there is a definite national need to override the existing “not zoned for development” status’.

In addition, it believes applications which fall outside land use classes contained in the government’s Strategic and Local Area plans should require Tynwald approval.

The government wants to ensure the planning system doesn’t constrain the island through a shortage of land for economic uses.

The Save Camlork Committee wants the planning system to take into account the existing supply of relevant property that is available at the date of the application for the activities/use that is proposed when working to facilitate the use of land in appropriate locations that the market requires,

Meanwhile, the committee wants an assurance the guidance ‘will not in any way fetter the independence of the planning committee and planning inspectors in determining an application for economic development’.

View the draft policy at www.gov.im/consultations

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