The company behind plans to build houses and a marina in Ramsey has said it welcomes an end to an expressions of interest procedure as the ‘bureaucratic exercise’ had served only to delay its plans.
The government has confirmed that after several extensions, no agreement could be reached with developers and the procurement process has now closed.
Ramsey Marina Limited has stated its intention to use the town’s south beach for a marina, although no application has ever been made.
The company had been involved in the procurement process with the Department of Infrastructure and the Attorney General’s Chambers for use of the land since 2019, with its bid to use Ramsey beach the only form of acknowledgement to be deemed viable.
However, the DoI has now told the Examiner that it has been unable to secure a deal with the company.
A spokesman said: ‘The Department of Infrastructure can confirm that a negotiation process relating to the development of a marina in Ramsey has closed with no Heads of Terms agreed.’
We understand that the pandemic, as well as other issues, had led to extensions for negotiations being granted, but that the final one of these expired during the spring.
In response to this news, Ramsey MHK Lawrie Hooper said the DoI’s decision was a ‘big positive move’ for people opposed to the company’s plans as ‘without their agreement there’s no way to actually build anything on the beach’.
He added: ‘The draft Area Plan is clear about no development on the beach, and so whilst we can’t be 100% certain this will stop any further proposals, (as even if the site isn’t included in the Area Plan a planning application can still be made) as long as we make sure the final plan that goes before Tynwald maintains this approach then we will have secured protection in the planning system as far as possible – as getting planning permission for something that is outside the scope of the plan is a very big uphill battle.’
However, far from licking its wounds, the RML said it was ‘indebted to Mr Lawrie Hooper for his kind assistance in bringing the bureaucratic exercise of the DoI expressions of interest process to an end’.
A spokesman for RMLI added: ‘This was originally initiated some three years ago by DoI. It would NOT have got RML nor the government any closer to any planning or other approval, but has merely delayed the project.
‘Indeed, if any such agreement had been entered into, it would have actually contractually limited the two organisations to a considerable degree. The RML goal is to deliver a maritime centre of excellence as a facility for everyone on the Isle of Man and we look forward to working with the government to make this happen after this unfortunate three year delay.’
The company also disputed some elements of a recent Manx Independent article on the publication of the draft area plan for the north and west. It said that while the article makes reference to 368 homes, it anticipates that it would be more likely that about 150 to 170 would be built, if the proposed development ever was to come to fruition.