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Rushen Commissioners urge action

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Local authorities tussle over Ballakilley estate

Rushen Commissioners are urging parishioners to comment on a boundary extension application by neighbouring local authority Port Erin.

If approved, it would see the entire Ballakilley Estate fall under the village authority's jurisdiction, rather than the current split between the two sets of commissioners.

In a newsletter to residents, Rushen Commissioners have warned that those in the estate could see their annual rates bill double under Port Erin's control.

The board is encouraging concerned ratepayers to use their views to 'influence the outcome of the enquiry', and says it will 'strongly' resist the application, which it sees as an attempt by neighbours at 'snatching money' to pay for services.

Port Erin Commissioners chairman Nick Watterson says the matter is about parity on the estate: 'Having identical houses on the same housing development paying different amounts in rates is fundamentally unfair'.

Mr Watterson also argues that Rushen residents in Ballakilley wouldn't see their rates increase dramatically.

'Our analysis of the potential increase in the overall rate bill for those currently living in Rushen would average 26% and that the maximum increase would be 31%. This directly contradicts the ‘burdensome costs’ quoted by Rushen Parish Commissioners'.

The Department of Infrastructure is currently holding a public inquiry for ratepayers and interested parties to submit their views on the plans.

A chairman to oversee the process has yet to be appointed. It's expected Infrastructure officials will chose a Manx advocate to occupy the post, after ensuring there's no possible conflict of interest.

Once the consultation period is complete, the chair of the inquiry will make a recommendation to the Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer on whether to approve or reject the extension.

The Minister will then present the matter to Tynwald for approval.

Certain criteria are outlined for respondents to consider when submitting their views on the application.

A full list of these, along with supporting documents to the application, are available online via the Isle of Man government's consultation hub.

The closing date for responses to the inquiry is Friday 14 September.

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