The Cabinet Office has rejected a local authority’s request for a second public consultation on plans that could see more than 1,250 new homes built in Peel.

Peel Town Commissioners says major amendments to the draft Area Plan for the North and West have seen an additional 35.8 hectares of agricultural land on the outskirts of the town predominantly zoned for new housing.

Based on a specified minimum of 35 dwellings per hectare, this will provide for a minimum of 1,253 new properties on the town’s western boundary - which is in addition to the minimum 400 already included during the public consultation in 2022.

A public inquiry into the draft Area Plan is due to take place in July and members of the public had until last Friday (May 10) to register to have their say at the inquiry.

Peel Town Commissioners has written to the Cabinet Office seeking an extension to that May 10 deadline and also calling for a further public consultation on the changes ahead of the public inquiry. The Commissioners said the late major changes could not have been reasonably foreseen.

Map showing areas in pink zoned for housing
(Cabinet Office)

But town clerk Derek Sewell said the Cabinet Office has now refused the request for a second consultation, but the authority was to ask again for the registration deadline to be extended.

He said: ‘We will deal with the issue when it goes to inquiry but our point is that the public could not have foreseen this magnitude of change between 2022 and 2024.’

He said it was confusing that there are now two plans as the Cabinet Office’s proposals run alongside and have not replaced the original draft plan.

During the public consultation in 2022 it was estimated that an extra 770 homes would be needed across the whole of the west region.

While the deadline for those who wish to present their submissions or objections at the inquiry was last Friday, the deadline to submit written statements is June 21.

The inquiry will be led by an independent planning inspector.

Since the draft plan was published in June 2022, the Cabinet Office has identified a number of additional potential development sites for housing and other uses, based on submissions by developers, landowners and local authorities.

Peel Town Commissioners is also objecting that the draft Area Plan proposes the continued use of a silt lagoon on land zoned for employment. The lagoon was constructed in early 2020 to ‘de-water’ silt dredged from the marina. It was only supposed to be temporary until March 8 this year.

But the day before the consent ran out, the Department of Infrastructure applied for planning permission to extend its operation and postpone its decommissioning until the end of 2026.