THE future of planning in the island is under the spotlight.
A review of the island’s strategic plan, which decides broad principles of planning requirements for the island such as setting out criteria for judging applications for different developments and broader issues than the rather than the more defined principles of the area plans.
With the area plan for the south nearing completion, the planning and building control division of the Department of Infrastructure says it intends to focus on the strategic plan to ensure it is fit for purpose and capable of achieving the sustainable development required to meet the needs of the island.
Howard Quayle MHK, political member with responsibility for planning and building control, said: ‘Our original thinking was, once the area plan for the south was finished, to move on to the area plan for the east.
‘However, given that we now have the results of the 2011 census, we are reaching the point when we need to update certain key elements of the strategic plan. By reviewing the strategic plan at this stage, it will also help us lay a stronger foundation for the preparation of the remaining area plans.’
While the strategic plan is being reviewed, the Department of Infrastructure will continue preliminary work on the preparation of the area plan for the east.
Mr Quayle said: ‘The resolution of many key issues within the strategic plan will expedite the production of the area plans, and by continuing the preliminary work on the area plan for the east it will ensure that there is a robust evidence base on which to prepare the plan.’
Ahead of the preparation of the area plan, the department has recently consulted on interim draft planning guidance for the lower Douglas area, which aims to clarify the planning framework in relation to this area of Douglas with a view to encouraging regeneration and investment.
Minister for Infrastructure David Cretney MHK said: ‘We are conscious that this review needs to be undertaken in a timely manner, but it is also important that the public have a chance to have their say. We will scrutinise the current strategic plan policies with a view to publishing, in early 2013, a list of those parts of the plan which we believe should be the focus of the review and will seek representations from the public on these.
‘Following this, a draft strategic plan will be produced which will also be open to public consultation.’
A summary of responses to the public consultation on the lower Douglas master plan has been published by the Department of Infrastructure.
The document sets out some of the feedback received during the six-week consultation in May and June this year for the ‘Draft Interim Planning Guidance for Key Town Centre Sites in Douglas’, which forms the basis for the Department’s vision for creating a key gateway area to Douglas and the island, based around the ‘Middlemarch’ site, Lord Street and North Quay.
Coordinated by the planning and vuilding control division of the DoI, the consultation ran from May 8 until June 19 and the initial summary of responses can be viewed on the department’s website here
Mr Quayle said: ‘Submissions were received from government departments, developers, stakeholders, local authorities and members of the public, so it was a strong cross-section of views, covering issues ranging from the proposed development opportunities to car parking.
‘We are now reviewing the responses and later this year we will produce a final version of the Interim Planning Guidance, which the department will be asked to adopt, and the guidance can then be used as a policy document to assist in determining planning applications within the area.’
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Weather for Isle of Man
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 12 C
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Temperature: 6 C to 11 C
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Wind direction: North west