Two contentious planning applications have been approved at the latest meeting of the government’s planning committee this week.
Despite planning officers’ initial recommendation that it be refused, plans (21/00228/A) for a 50m swimming pool and sports complex on the grounds of King Williams College have been given the go-ahead.
The £6m complex will be open to the public and also include a 60m running track, sports hall and gym.
Plans for shops had been dropped from the application.
Objections to the plans were made by the Southern Local Authority Swimming Pool Board, which argued that it had led to a delay for a new pool to replace the one next to Castle Rushen High School.
With there being no 50 metre ‘olympic size’ pool in the island, those behind the project promoted it as being a facility which would allow top-level Manx swimmers to record qualifying lap times here without having to go to the UK.
The approval came with eight conditions which will be made public in coming weeks.
The second approved planning application (22/00307/B) is to extended the opening hours and provide outdoor seating for the Fynoderee Distillery’s bar in Ramsey.
Its plans were opposed by Ramsey Commissioners at a recent meeting, leading distillery owner Paul Kerruish to hit out at the local authority for ‘stifling’ local business.
Mr Kerruish went on to say that his business would ‘invest not a further penny in this town’, warning others to ‘invest in Ramsey at your peril’.
Commissioner Juan McGuinness had sought to highlight that the Fynoderee bar had been operating beyond the remit of its original planning approval, running as a proper bar, rather than a ‘tasting bar’.
Mr Kerruish refuted this, saying that the bar had always been a ‘multi-use premises’ and the original permission was being followed ‘word for word’.
He pointed out that the bar had become a valuable tourist destination for the north, with 50 coach trips being booked to visit it in the next three months.
The latest application was for opening hours to be extended from (closing at) 10pm to 11pm between Sunday and Thursday, with midnight opening hours kept on Friday and Saturday, and a 1am closing time on New Year’s Eve.
A patch of nearby scrubland would be developed into the outdoor seating area.
Ramsey commissioners voted to oppose these changes, with members citing concerns that nearby residents would be disturbed.
A third significant application (21/01551/B) approved at the meeting was for the installation of three chemical storage tanks at the Meary Veg sewage treatment facility, which is operated by the Manx Utilities Authority.
Used to house the anti-odour chemical Yara Nutriox, the application marks a further investment into Meary Veg, part of the original IRIS sewer system – which had been intended as a way of centralising the island’s sewage treatment that never fully came to fruition.