Strategic Plan : 24th September

The Supporters’ Association is encouraging all interested parties to respond to Isle of Man Strategic Plan Review, the consultation for which closes at 5.00pm on Friday 28th September. Although possibly not readily apparent why we are appealing for you to do this is, it impacts on the railway in several ways.

In the past twenty years the railway has seen a gradual build-up of new buildings and structures encroaching onto the railway corridor (despite alleged protection in the current Strategic Plan); the latest development adjacent to Ballasalla Station has severely impacted the view from the passing trains. It may not be apparent to many that a good number of popular photographic points along the line such as Ellenbrook are owned by developers - as possible so-called “land banks”.

The Association is of the opinion that the railway as a whole including the closed lines should be protected from large scale developments such as those near both Ballasalla and Castletown and the potential one at Port St. Mary. This is particularly relevant as the policy buzzword “biosphere” and the ongoing efforts to encourage cruise ships and other tourists to the Island, all of which could be threatened by such overly-large developments.

The Strategic Plan is important because it is what Planning Department and developers work to.   This is an early stage in the new Strategic Plan, but it is important as it sets the direction and scope for the review. Quoting from the consultation document itself:- “Preliminary Publicity - setting out in a public consultation the matters and issues that the draft plan will deal with. Anyone can make comments” and “It aims to publicise the process, set out the matters that the Plan intends to deal with and to seek views on those matters”.

Of particular concern is what is not included in this preliminary round of consultation, given that potentially all the policies and protections in the current plan (such as protected corridors) will be discarded unless specifically brought back into scope.

You can complete the consultation questionnaire on the government website HERE but the questions are extremely limited in scope, except for the last “anything else”; you can also e-mail your views to making it clear they are to be counted as a response to the consultation.