A developer has lodged an appeal against a decision to refuse planning consent for up to 205 homes on a greenfield site bordering a nature reserve and protected saltmarsh.

The move comes despite the Poyll Dooey site in Ramsey being designated as ‘open space’ in the draft Area Plan for the North - and the Cabinet Office insists it remains unsuitable for residential development.

Blythe Church Investments Holdings is seeking detailed planning approval (22/00679/B) for the first phase of the scheme which could see a total of 66 houses and 12 flats built on fields at Poyll Dooey.

Its application also seeks consent for a second phase of up to 127 more homes, making 205 in total.

But the proposed £40m Sulby Riverside development was rejected by the planning committee, despite being recommended for approval.

Members of the committee voted three to two against the scheme, amid concerns over flood risk and possible loss of two red-listed wildflowers.

Applicants Blythe Church Investments propose a Spine Road as part of the scheme that would double as a flood barrier.

And they say the site should be flood-free even in the event of a once in 200-year flooding event of 6.05m.

The proposals include affordable housing, a new public house and community facility as well as light industrial units. In their appeal statement, agents for Blythe said: ‘Our appeal rests upon the assertion that the reasons for refusal do not align with the provisions of the local plan or the development plan and do not accurately reflect the discussions and decisions made by the planning committee.’

They said they had engaged world-renowned experts in flood management to design robust flood defences and had given commitments to protect the habitat and biodiversity of the site.

‘Our appeal is grounded in the belief that the proposed development not only complies with the development plan but also incorporates advanced measures to mitigate environmental impact and ensure the safety and well-being of future residents,’ they added. It was announced last month that a public inquiry will be held into the draft Area Plan for the North and West. Under the draft plan Poyll Dooey is to be designated as ‘open space’.

It had been considered for housing as development site RR004 but this was rejected.

Recommending approval for the Sulby Riverside scheme, planning officer Hamish Laird said the draft Area Plan ‘holds no weight’ as it was at this stage ‘effectively for information only’.

He pointed out that the site was zoned for light industrial use and some residential in the current Ramsey local plan.

But a government spokesman said: ‘The draft Area Plan for the North and West did not support Poyll Dooey as a potential development site for housing and instead proposed the site for open space.

‘The Cabinet Office has not changed its stance and the site remains unsuitable for residential development.’

Among the objectors to the Sulby Riverside scheme was the government’s flood management division which said no homes should be built on a floodplain.

And Manx Wildlife Trust said it would make a mockery of the island’s Biosphere status.

But Nathan Church of Blythe Church Investments Holdings Ltd said: ‘As the island seeks to sustain economic growth it’s important that allocated sites such as ours are brought forward.

‘Our new spine road along with five affordable houses in the scheme’s first phase go considerably beyond what is financially required of us.

‘Our project will boost local trade, but also send a signal to other investors and businesses that the town is moving forward with confidence.’