A Ramsey Commissioner says a planning application to build houses next to a nature reserve ‘won’t go away’, despite it being rejected by the planning committee this week.

The committee voted three to two against the £40m Sulby Riverside scheme, amid concerns over flood risk and the possible loss of two red-listed wildflowers.

Blythe Church Investments Holdings Ltd had sought detailed planning approval (22/00679/B) for the first phase of the scheme which could see a total of 66 houses and 12 flats built on fields at Poyll Dooey. Its application also sought consent for a second phase of up to 127 more homes, making 205 in total.

The developers have confirmed it’s looking at ‘next steps’ and stand by the ‘merits’ of the application.

Ramsey Commissioner Lamara Craine set up a group which supports the protection of the saltmarsh and started a petition to stop the planning application from being approved.

Ms Craine says there are still concerns about the future of the land, but as a greenfield site it should be protected.

She said: ‘I’m pleased that it’s been rejected at this stage, but obviously I’m concerned that this process isn’t over and we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.

‘At the moment this is a small victory, and the battle has been won but not the war. So we we don’t know what’s going to happen and we are concerned about the future of the land and what the developers will come back with. I guess time will tell.’

Ms Craine also highlighted the community spirit within Ramsey between those who opposed the planning application. She continued: ‘We are taking measures and are congregating together as a community of campaigners that are really passionate about this area and having sustainable developments on the Isle of Man - one’s that don’t damage heritage and important areas of conservation.

‘We would love developers to target Brownfield sites, and that would be ideal as they’ve already been built on. They can take measures to mitigate any damage that may be done if areas have been colonised by species on a brownfield site, and these sites are ripe for developing.

‘Greenfield sites desperately need to be protected. We can’t just pave the whole of the Isle of Man.

‘There is a campaign being ran by many different members in Ramsey. I’ve helped with quite a lot of it and I am encouraging others to get involved. It’s been incredibly stressful and tiring for the last week, because we really had to spearhead it before the planning decision was made.’