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Commissioner calls for honesty from government over changes to appeal rights

Wadsworth critical of DEFA's policy change

A local politician is calling on the government to be honest with the public over changes to who can be given third party appeal rights.

German Parish Commissioner Matthew Wadsworth says the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture's policy change on 'interested party status' (IPS) isn't supported by facts. 

Appellants must now live within 20 meters from the boundary of a development and be deemed to have a 'legitimate planning concern' before they're awarded IPS.

The status is automatically granted by the Department to the applicant and landowners, as well as statutory bodies like local authorities and Manx National Heritage.

Defending the new policy, which was introduced last summer, DEFA Minister Geoffrey Boot insists appeals from third parties were 'delaying applications and stifling economic development'.

He claims the new system is 'more transparent', as it clearly defines who can be given the status.

You can view the policy here: https://www.gov.im/media/832412/operational-policy-sept-18.pdf

In the last year, 67 appeals have been judged by the Minister, 21 of which were successful, and only two of which came from third parties.

Mr Wadsworth says 70% of appeals are lodged by applicants against the department, and has rejected the Minister claims that 'vexatious' appeals were slowing down the system.

He says it's clear the IPS policy was changed because of the cost, with an under-staffed and under-resourced planning department struggling to fulfil all its functions.

Mr Wadsworth told Local Democracy Reporter Ewan Gawne facts can be manipulated to suit any argument:

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