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Ramsey Commissioners' application to extend its boundary has been rejected

Monday, 17 June 2024 14:46

By Local Democracy Reporter Emma Draper

A public inquiry was held in January to decide the outcome 

Ramsey Commissioners' application to extend its boundary has been rejected. 

In January a public inquiry was held with representatives from Lezayre and Garff Commissioners - whose land would've been affected.

The extension was refused by Chair of the Inquiry Peter Taylor and that refusal has been 'endorsed' by the Department of Infrastructure.

Mr Taylor found that Ramsey had enough land within its boundary currently to support the predicted population growth of 500 people until 2031.

Ramsey Commissioners requested a public inquiry to expand its boundary into areas of Lezayre and Garff because it believed the town had reached ‘capacity’.

However, the latter two authorities have previously called the move 'territorial' and defended this position in January.

Peter Taylor chaired the inquiry for three days and his conclusion was to reject the application on the basis that the town has enough land to develop already.

Mr Taylor also said it should be left to central government to ‘determine’ where housing was needed and boundaries should be considered during the planning process.

One of his other conclusions was that the application was ‘driven’ by the need for Ramsey Commissioners to fund itself and increase its rateable income to meet its needs.

But this, he said should fall ‘equally on the shoulders’ of all residents which use the town as a service centre.

A recommendation has been made to the commissioners to ensure its infrastructure is good enough to deal with ‘further increases’ in population - then Ramsey Commissioners could make ‘specific applications’ to extend the boundary if needed.

Peter Taylor also concluded that the current rating system was one of the main reasons for the boundary application, and the system needed to be addressed so ‘speculative’ boundary applications can be avoided in the future.

He concluded that decisions about developments made on political boundaries should be resolved in the planning process rather than in ‘unsuitable’ boundary expansion inquiries.

The full report can be found here.

Ramsey commissioners says it's 'very disappointed' the application to extend its boundary has been rejected.

A statement from the town commissioners says these conclusions made by Mr Taylor differ greatly from their own opinions.. 

They say his conclusion that there is sufficient land within Ramsey for development again differs widely from their own.

However they say they do echo Mr Taylor's comments about the urgent need for the Isle of Man Government to implement rates reform to ensure fairness for all.

The full statement reads as follows:

“We have today received the report for the boundary extension for Ramsey which was heard in January 2024. We are of course very disappointed to learn of the decision.

The Chairman of the Inquiry has reached his own conclusions of the projected population increase for the Isle of Man and its subsequent impact on the town of Ramsey. These conclusions differ greatly from the opinions of the Commission and its own conclusions on the future of Ramsey. The Chairman’s conclusion that there is sufficient land within Ramsey for development as a result again differs widely from our own conclusions.

This application was made with a view to securing Ramsey for future development, not to play catch up with development as has been the case previously.

We would echo the Chairman’s comments for the urgent need for the Isle of Man Government to implement rates reform to ensure fairness for all.

We are cognisant of the Island Plan to build our population and indeed the objective assessment of housing needs of May 2024 where towns will need to expand to allow for the extra population. The decline of our application is counter to central Government’s targets and objectives for our Island’s future.

Finally we would like to thank all parties concerned in this process.”

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