Environment Minister Clare Barber has overturned a planning decision that had given principle approval for plans for a new sports centre at King William’s College. 

The appeal was launched by the Southern Swimming Pool Board after planners had originally backed the application (21/00228/A).

The plans included a sports centre with 50m swimming pool, 60m running track, sports hall and gym and was approved by planners in May this year.

However, the Southern Board appealed against the decision saying it was outside of the Castletown settlement boundary and that the site wasn’t designated for development. It also said that there was ‘no overriding national need’ for the additional pool.

In her judgement, Mrs Barber agreed with this final point, saying: ‘Overall it is not considered that it has been sufficiently demonstrated that there is an overriding national need for the proposed development or that there is no other acceptable alternative site available for it to warrant an exception to the principle of development in this location in terms of Environment Policy 1 and General Policy 3 of the Isle of Man Strategic Plan 2016.’

Mrs Barber also confirmed that the plan would have an ‘unacceptable adverse impact on the setting of registered buildings’, namely King WIlliam’s College and that it would also have an adverse impact on its surroundings.

There is no 50-metre ‘Olympic-size’ pool in the island and those behind the project promoted it as being a facility which would allow top-level Manx swimmers to record qualifying lap times here without having to go to the UK.

Plans for shops had been dropped from the application prior to its approval.