Manx Development Corporation’s Westmoreland Village scheme has been given the go-ahead.

But it was supported by the narrowest of margins, with the planning committee voting three votes for and three against, and the proposal carried by the casting vote of chairman Rob Callister MHK.

Concerns centred on the issue of off-street parking.

Manx Development Corporation, an arm’s-length company wholly owned by the taxpayer, has been busy buying up properties which it wants to demolish to make way for its Westmoreland Village scheme.

The development, proposed for a site bordered by Demesne Road and Westmoreland Road, comprises 133 new homes split across apartments, townhouses, small blocks of flats and a senior living block.

MDC’s plans (23/00291/B) also include a new scout hut/community pavilion, and refurbishment and extension of Crookall House as offices.

But a total of only 89 car spaces will be provided - while the government’s own Strategic Plan specifies that it would require 214.

MDC said the development embraces the ‘20-minute neighbourhood/15-minute city’ principle of urban planning.

Managing director Dane Harrop told the committee on Monday that the scheme would be a catalyst for improvement in the wider area.

He said the location of the development would meet most of the residents’ needs within a short walking distance or cycle ride from their home.

‘We are not in line with the policy but there are other buildings not in line with the policy.

‘We are not setting a precedent,’ he said.

‘There has to be a shift in terms of reducing the level of parking.’

Planning committee member Peter Young was one of those who voted against. He said: ‘It’s unrealistic to believe that people in those apartments are not going to have some sort of vehicle.’

Committee member Matthew Warren said parking in the area is already difficult but said: ‘I know a lot of teenagers who are not taking up cars in the same way.’

Objector Stephen Moore, of Demesne Road, read out a statement, describing the proposals as ‘over-development’.

He said: ‘This claim that it’s a village should be ignored. It is next to residential, commercial, health care clinics and a school and these will all be impacted.’

Planning officer Steve Butler said the Strategic Plan does give some flexibility in reducing the amount of parking.

He described it as a target that was ‘not set in stone’.

Committee chairman Rob Callister said there was much that was positive about the proposals and the only issue was the significant shortfall in parking provision.

He pointed out that people could walk to work or the shops but there would still be occasions when they would need to drive.