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Developer claims it would be 'challenging' to adhere to affordable housing requirements

Ocean Castle site should contain 9.5 units 

Negotiations are continuing about whether affordable housing will be provided as part of the redevelopment of the former Ocean Castle Hotel in Port Erin.

Ocean Castle Limited – which is part of the Tevir Group – wants to build 38 apartments on the brownfield site; the scheme would be funded, in part, with taxpayers’ money.

The development – which is being progressed through the Island Infrastructure Scheme – is required to contain 9.5 ‘affordable housing units’.

However, in its planning application, the group says it would be ‘challenging’ to ‘viably accommodate’ such units on the site and as a result it doesn’t believe it’s suitable for them.

The Tevir Group has blamed increasing building costs which, it says, have resulted in the viability of the scheme being ‘threatened’.

In addition it says communal living accommodation, such as this, brings with it maintenance fees which ‘may be unaffordable’ for those who need to utilise government help to obtain their own home.

Meetings have been held with the Department of Infrastructure, and Port Erin Commissioners, to discuss the perceived issues and for the group to ‘explain its view’.

In the application, which is pending consideration, The Tevir Group says its preferred approach would be to reach an agreement in respect of a ‘commuted sum’ adding it believes that would be ‘more appropriate’.

Discussions are said to be ongoing with the group stating that it’s recognised that affordable housing obligations will be subject to a ‘Section 13 Agreement’.

This would be between the group, the DoI and the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.

Section 13 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1999 allows DEFA to enter into legal agreements in relation to planning matters – you can find out more HERE.

In addition the developer has confirmed it’s not planning to provide the number of car parking spaces which make up the requirements of the Strategic Plan.

Provision has been made for 57 spaces – 34 in the basement and 23 at street level – instead of the 63 required.

The group says if climate change is to be addressed one of the ‘critical issues’ required is the reduction in the need to travel and the encouragement of more sustainable methods of doing so.

The reduction in car parking spaces could, the group claims, encourage occupants of the apartments not to be so reliant on private transport.

A large, secure cycle store will be built which the group says will ‘promote active travel’.

The Tevir Group adds these measures – and other initiatives including the promotion of car sharing, information on public transport and ‘welcome packs’ - represents 'an acceptable compromise’.

Manx Radio has contacted The Tevir Group and the Department of Infrastructure for comment.

You can find the full plans HERE.

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