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Cosy Nook plans halted for 'at least four months'

Iconic building to be considered for registered status

A government move to protect an iconic building in Port Erin has halted action for at least four months.

Commissioners in the village had voted to demolish the Cosy Nook, however, the site was issued with a Building Preservation Notice on Tuesday.

That means it cannot be knocked down as it's being considered for registered status.

Proposals for a replacement beach-side venue at the site are yet to be approved by planners.

The local authority faced a backlash from some quarters after supporting the Cosy Nook's demolition, including from Speaker of the House of Keys, Juan Watterson MHK.

He called it "part of the origin story of Port Erin" and asked Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister Geoffrey Boot to intervene.

Mr Boot has since been forced to deny the decision to protect the building was caused by public outcry.

"We were reviewing [the Cosy Nook] over the last few days as certain events and information came to light, so it was a logical step", Mr Boot said.

He added: "We've protected the building - it doesn't mean they are going to be registered - but at least we're now able to go through a proper process without the fear that something would happen in the meantime.

"I'm not saying Port Erin Commissioners would have demolished the building, but at least it gives us some impetus to look into the building and see whether registration is appropriate."

A decision of five votes to three earlier this month saw the commissioners support a motion to knock down the building.

That's despite not hearing back from the planning committee on whether or not designs for a replacement venue - a raised, three-storey building - had been given the green light.

Chairman of the local authority, Godfrey Egee, was against the demolition of the Cosy Nook.

Mr Egee said: "My own view, not as the chairman's view, I was against the modern design.

"At the moment I'm frustrated somewhat that we have [a] planning application still in.

"It would have made much more sense if planning had either rejected it or done whatever they're going to do so then we could have talked about where we would like to go forward with this.

"The frustration is now we have a four-month freeze on it."

However, Mr Egee doesn't believe government has acted outside of its remit.

"It is government effectively when you go through planning.

"I can understand in this situation what has triggered it [intervention]. There is a big outcry against the demolition of the building.

"But I don't think it's something we'd want to see across the Island for other local authorities regularly because [government] should really give us this information at the very beginning when we ask the questions", he said.

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