Campaigners joined a protest march to oppose controversial plans for a housing development on a greenfield site in Ramsey.

More than 80 people gathered at Poyll Dooey fields for the demonstration against Blythe Church Investment’s proposed Sulby Riverside scheme.

The £40m development was refused planning consent in February but the developers have lodged an appeal.

Blythe wants detailed planning approval (22/00679/B) for a first phase comprising 66 houses and 12 flats, and outline consent for a second phase of up to 127 more homes, making 205 in total.

The planning committee voted three to two against the scheme, amid concerns over flood risk and possible loss of two red-listed wildflowers. Sunday’s protest was organised by Ramsey Town commissioner and leader of the Isle of Man Green Party, Lamara Craine.

She said: ‘Some 2,500 people have signed the petition against this development.

‘Many people are concerned about the loss of this vital green belt in Ramsey, the damage this development would do to our Biosphere, and the impact it would have on Ramsey as a whole when flooding occurs on this site.

‘The shortsightedness of this scheme smacks of greed and a lack of consideration for the environment and people.

‘All developments should ensure net biodiversity gain is achieved to safeguard nature and wildlife for generations to come.

‘Sustainable development is a key aim of the UNESCO Biosphere and sustainability is meeting the needs of today without compromising our ability to meet the needs of tomorrow.’

The demonstration march heads through Poyll Dooey fields
Eighty joined the demonstration march (Lamara Craine)

The greenfield site borders a nature reserve and a protected saltmarsh.

Miss Craine said the planning application would see some of the 14,000 square metres of tree canopy destroyed by residential housing, industrial units and a public house. 

Campaigners, accompanied by their families and dogs, marched to view the area where Blythe wants to build homes on and also the route of its planned spine road which would act as a flood barrier as well as a connecting road linking Poyll Dooey Road to the east of the site with Audlyn Walk to the west.

Planning officer Hamish Laird had recommended approval of the scheme. He said the site should be flood-free even in the event of a once in 200-year flooding event of 6.05m.

But the planning officer said in his report that the draft Area Plan held no weight as its proposed policies have not been the subject of public scrutiny and it was ‘effectively for information only’.

But the Cabinet Office had said it has not changed its stance and believes the site remains unsuitable for residential development.

Campaigners gather to save Poyll Dooey from development
Campaigners gather to save Poyll Dooey (Lamara Craine)