Where should we build new homes?

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Where should more than 5,000 new homes be built in the island?

That’s one of the questions that a government consultation with the public is going to consider.

The Department of Infrastructure is inviting public feedback on the Draft Isle of Man Strategic Plan 2015.

The document sets out general policies for the development and use of land in the Isle of Man in line with identified long-term needs.

It updates the Isle of Man Strategic Plan 2007 and takes into account the latest population projections and their likely impact on future housing requirements and the strategic highway network.

Publication of the ‘Draft Isle of Man Strategic Plan 2015 – Towards a Sustainable Island’ continues a process started in December 2013 when the department announced a review of the Isle of Man Strategic Plan 2007.

Representations from the public, together with evidence of housing demand, supply and future requirements, were considered during the production of the Draft Plan 2015.

The key changes relate to the plan period and projected housing requirements.

The original timeframe of 2001 to 2016 and housing needs figure of 6,000 have been revised to a new plan period of 2011 to 2026 and a housing needs figure of 5,100. Houses and flats built or approved since 2011 are already contributing towards the delivery of the 5,100 houses required up to 2026.

The Draft Plan 2015 also suggests a revised regional breakdown of the 5,100 additional houses of:

North 770

South 1,120

East 2,440

West 770

The new figures reflect the findings of the 2011 Census, which showed the Isle of Man’s resident population is increasing and household size is continuing to fall, but not at the rate anticipated in the Strategic Plan 2007.

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said: ‘The draft Isle of Man Strategic Plan 2015 is key to delivering a sound planning policy framework for the island. This is a 15-year plan, much of which is familiar, but the updated figures will allow us to prepare the Isle of Man for future changes in population and anticipate housing requirements and infrastructure needs.

‘In essence, it seeks to ensure that sufficient development opportunities are provided to enable 5,100 new houses to be built between 2011 and 2026.’

He added: ‘It will be useful for all government departments as they prepare their service delivery plans.

‘This tightly-focused review will also feed directly into the preparation of the Area Plans, the next one being the east, enabling land allocations to be responsive to future needs.

‘Planning has a crucial role to play in supporting Government’s national priority of growing the economy, while reflecting the needs of local communities and protecting our environment. This plan will help to shape our island and I would encourage people to submit their views by responding to the consultation.’

A paper version of the document can be viewed, alongside all the evidence papers prepared to support the draft plan, at the planning and building control division’s public counter, Murray House, Mount Havelock.

Members of the public can also access the Draft Plan and provide their comments via an online survey at this site.

All feedback will be submitted in full to the independent planning inspector appointed to oversee the public inquiry, which is the next stage in the process.

Chris Thomas MHK, the politician at the department with responsibility for planning and building control, said: ‘In order to plan effectively, we need to understand population evidence and what it means for household numbers and the need for new homes in the Isle of Man. The adjusted housing figures and how these are to be distributed will contribute to upcoming decisions on development land requirements.’

The deadline for responding to the consultation or online survey is 5pm on Friday, March 13.

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