Proposals to build a yachting marina with housing and other amenities in Ramsey have been dealt a blow as the government has left the site out of its latest draft area plan.
The draft plan has been published and, once completed, will zone the west and the north of the island, plans for the south and east have previously been set down by Tynwald.
Site RM010, which was one of 35 additional sites proposed last year, consists of Ramsey’s South Beach and is earmarked for development by Ramsey Marina Limited, despite some vocal local opposition.
The 14.62 hectare site was suggested for mixed use development, with a ‘likely yield’ of 368 homes.
In the site specific comments, the Cabinet Office has summarised responses to the site, which continues over three pages.
The responses included those in support of the marina, saying it would free up space, that Douglas and Peel’s marinas are oversubscribed, that Ramsey and the north of the island would benefit from the investment and how similar investments in the UK have ‘transformed’ their towns.
Against this, respondents said that they use the beach for leisure activities that contribute to their mental and physical health, that those living in flats nearby have no gardens so use the beach and argued that the site could negatively impact existing shops and businesses.
Interwoven in the summary are arguments for and against development based on environmental grounds. Some said that the proposed zoning would allow for the maintenance of harbours and the fishing, freight and shipbuilding industries.
Against this, other respondents noted that the north beach was designated as an area of special scientific interest in 2006, while storms have damaged this area, there are concerns about what impact changes to wave actions could have on this site. Other concerns highlighted protected wildlife that nest or live in the area.
Opponents of the proposed development of RM010 have also pointed to Strategic Plan, Environmental Policy 1, which says that the ‘countryside and its ecology will be protected for its own sake’.
The countryside is defined as being land outside the defined settlement boundaries, which the site RM010, or South Beach, is. The existing boundary, as established by the Ramsey Local Plan 1998, also documented in the new draft plan, shows the boundary to be the existing sea wall.
It adds: ‘Development which would adversely affect the countryside will not be permitted unless there is an overriding national need in land use planning terms which outweighs the requirement to protect these areas and for which there is no reasonable and acceptable alternative.’
While the site has been excluded from the plan at this stage, the site could make a comeback and be included following either public consultation or the public inquiry, which is due next year.
It also would not prevent RML from submitting a planning application while the plan is being consulted on, or even after the plan has been approved by Tynwald, even if RM010 continues to be excluded. The consultation on the plans is now open and can be found on the government’s webside
We will have a further, in-depth, breakdown of the Area Plan for the North and West in Thursday’s Manx Independent.