Onchan mapOnchan MHK Rob Callister has ’implored’ the chairman of the inquiry into the area plan for the east to remove a controversial site from the final document.

Site OH011, at Ballachrink in Onchan, is proposed for 200 homes in the draft area plan, but Mr Callister and residents want it removed.

The draft plan recommendation is for the homes to be built on land near Birch Hill. Dandara want to demolish two bungalows on Birch Hill Crescent to provide access to the new homes.

Mr Callister said: ’It is fair to say that this particular site OH011 has generated a considerable amount of comment from this government, the local authority, MHKs and hundreds of residents living in Onchan.’

He said the issue originated when Heritage Homes (Dandara) submitted plans to develop about nine acres for housing, including three acres of open space.

At the time of that proposal, the plan was for eight homes per acre, which would generate about 70 homes.

Mr Callister quoted the then Minister for Local Government and Environment John Rimington who in February 2005 outlined that the ’site is zoned as open space on the adopted Onchan Local Plan (April 2000)’.

Mr Rimington said at that time: ’The proposed development on this land would be premature pending consideration of all material issues as part of the formulation of the strategic and area plans.

’The development, as proposed, would represent an intensification of the existing built fabric at the edge of the urban area, resulting in an undesirable visual impact.

Mr Callister said: ’The DLGE believed that there was also an important principle associated with the development of this site in that if development is to be prevented from spreading further into our countryside, then it is going to have to stop at some time.’

In the debate before the adoption of the local plan in 2000, then DLGE Minister Walter Gilby concluded ’further expansion on the outskirts of the Onchan area should be halted’.

Mr Callister said: ’The department felt so strongly on this particular point that the site OH011 was omitted from the Onchan Local Plan adopted by Tynwald in March 2000 and continues to be designated as “open space”.’

During his evidence, he discussed the population growth, traffic and housing need in the future.

He added: ’There is no overriding national need at this moment in time to build further into Manx countryside, especially on the fabric edge of Onchan.

’I would implore you to remove site OH011 from the final area plan for the east and to allow this area of Onchan with high landscape value and scenic significance as evidenced, in order to retain its status of “open space” for the foreseeable future.’

Source: IoMToday