In recent weeks I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the private proposals for a marina development on the south beach – I think in response to news that another public meeting is coming up (I’ve not had this confirmed one way or the other but it seems unlikely).
A lot of people are very much against any sort of development – yet there are also a number of people supporting the development as proposed – as well as people who are falling somewhere in between.
So I thought it best to make my position clear. I’ve updated this page following further information from various government departments as well as to make my position clearer.
I will not support any development that would potentially damage our marine nature reserve and will not support any development that could be harmful to our Biosphere
- I do not want to see the seafront “privatised” – the beach is a valuable free public amenity space and I don’t want to see this change
- The proposed housing estate looks to be over intensive – I don’t support any intensive housing development on “greenfield” sites and the beach is no exception (I don’t think we should be building any housing on the beach at any rate!)
- There is no clarity on how the development would be funded or what might happen if any development fell apart before it was completed – I do not want to see your taxes placed at risk
- I am not clear on how the proposed development would impact on the working harbour or on flooding – these issues are too important to Ramsey to place at risk
Importantly – the first duty of an elected representative is to represent the people of their constituency, so if Ramsey isn’t on board, neither am I
What is the current situation?
The Department of Infrastructure have advised me that no agreement has been entered into in respect of the proposals and to date, the pre-conditions that the Department would require prior to any agreement being reached, such as demonstrating value to the taxpayer, due diligence, funding and planning, have not been met.
The Department for Enterprise have advised me that they have not endorsed these proposals.
Visit Isle of Man have advised me that they have not endorsed these proposals.
The Department for Environment Food and Agriculture didn’t respond to my request for information, but I have seen correspondence where they reaffirm the importance of the marine nature reserve.
So what’s next?
In the unlikely event government decide to support the development the planning system has a lot of safeguards built in to prevent developments that might damage the environment, or reduce the amenity value of the countryside or the coast, your representatives just have to ensure these are robustly implemented.
The laws, processes and systems we already have will help protect the bay for future generations.
What protections already exist?
For any construction to take place in the Bay would need explicit approval from the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture (DEFA).
Tynwald would have to vote on any lease longer than 21 years.
The Strategic Plan that governs the planning system has a number of safeguards built in, just two of which are:
- Environment Policy 1 – “The countryside and its ecology will be protected for its own sake”.
- Environment Policy 4 – “Development will not be permitted which would adversely affect…Marine Nature Reserves”
What about our Biosphere?
On a related matter, Liberal Vannin (my party) have just signed up to the Isle of Man Biosphere Pledge, at the time of writing this post we are the only political party to have done this.
Our Biosphere pledge commits us to only supporting sustainable development, protecting our natural resources, and ensuring our environmental impact is positive wherever possible. This means all of our policies will align to these criteria & it also means if any proposed development doesn’t meet these Biosphere criteria then Liberal Vannin MHKs will not support it.
In short, this means both myself & Liberal Vannin will not support any development that damages our marine environment or ecology. Nor would we support any development that would result in the privatisation of a valuable public amenity space
*photo credit visit Isle of Man website
06/08/2021 – UPDATE: I’ve had information from the Department of Infrastructure that they are still in the process of negotiating a lease with the proposed developers and none of their conditions have been met in the two years this has been going on, so it seems unlikely that anything has changed since the public meeting in 2019 – I don’t know what’s causing the current noise about this issue because as far as I can tell there’s nothing to it!
29/08/2021 – UPDATE – (Page updated following more information received from the Department of Infrastructure, Visit Isle of Man, the Department of Enterprise and the Department for Environment Food and Agriculture) – further re-affirming my view that there is no substance to these proposals or any real likelihood that they could progress even if there were.