• Minutes of the 18 July 2018 Meeting

    August 22nd, 2018 by Stan Pilling in General News ·Meeting Minutes

    Minutes of the Monthly Board Meeting
    Held 7pm Wednesday 18th July 2018 at Ballafesson Hall

    Present: Mr D Radcliffe (Chairman), Mr S Pilling, Mr J Young, Mr P Gunn and Mr P Vernon.
    In attendance: The Clerk

    Planning Enforcement: Abigail Morgan, new Planning Enforcement Officer for DEFA attended the meeting and explained her role.
    The Commissioners raised the significant development taking place at Ballaman and wondered whether planning permission was needed for this extensive work, which appears to extend beyond the land designated as garden for the property. Ms Morgan was unable to comment on the specific case but would consider the matter if the Commissioners formally raised it with the Department.

    1. MINUTES: The Minutes of the Meeting held Wednesday 20th June 2018 were agreed having been proposed by Mr Pilling and seconded by Mr Gunn.

    a) Manx Utilities – street lighting – the Clerk had spoken again to the MUA but is still awaiting a proposal in relation to replacement of the Parish’s mercury lights.
    b) Dog Byelaws – the Clerk will endeavour to complete this task as soon as practicable but as July Tynwald had now been missed it will be October before the bylaws will come into effect.
    c) Risk Assessment, Health and Safety – unfortunately the Clerk’s recent trip to Freishland had clashed with the date suggested for the risk assessor’s visit. A new date is being sought.
    d) Port Erin Commissioners – proposed boundary extension, library and meeting – the Commissioners discussed the somewhat discourteous communication from DoI’s local authority team in which the Commissioners were given very short notice of the Department’s proposal to request support from Tynwald to grant powers to an inquiry to investigate the Port Erin Commissioners’ proposal to extend Port Erin’s boundary. The email received read as follows:
    I just wanted to point out for your information that there is an item on July’s Tynwald Order Paper, Item 13 entitled Inquiries Evidence Act 2003. This item is related to the proposal by Port Erin Village Commissioners to adjust the boundaries between the districts of Rushen and Port Erin so as to move the entire residential estate at Ballakilley into Port Erin and the consequent Public Inquiry.

    This motion, if approved, will empower the Chairman of the public inquiry (that we are seeking to organise for probably October 2018), to require persons to attend the inquiry to give evidence under oath and to produce any document which relates to any matter in question at the inquiry. The provisions of the 2003 Act also give the Inquiry Chairman various other powers including attributing costs to the Authority which is proposing the boundary change.

    The purpose of this motion is solely to seek Tynwald approval to the powers of the Inquiries (Evidence) Act 2003 being used in relation to the public inquiry. It is not seeking approval to an inquiry being held (and furthermore legislation does not stipulate that Tynwald’s approval be sought to allow an inquiry to be held). Therefore regardless of the outcome of this motion it is still the intention that an inquiry will take place, either with or without exercising the powers of the Inquiries (Evidence) Act 2003.

    The intention would be that a public notice be placed in the newspaper and on our website soon after July Tynwald, seeking the public’s views on the proposal and providing those with online access a response form for their use. We will give you a further update when this has been approved by the Department and is going live.

    We will also soon look to appoint a Chairman, who will be an advocate.

    Hope this update assists

    The Clerk had replied to this email as follows:
    This is particularly worrying news and I expect Rushen Parish Commissioners will object to this in the strongest terms. Despite repeated requests over several months for information about the ’new’ inquiry process the Commissioners have been left wholly in the dark as to how the inquiry will be conducted.

    During our last conversation you told me that you would be writing to the Commissioners to explain the process and notify us of the Department’s intention to introduce the powers you describe in your email below. As no such Communication was received, as had been strongly suggested if not promised by you in time for the Commissioners’ June meeting, the Commissioners put on hold their consideration of making their own Boundary extension request to take back parts of the old Parish from Port Erin. The Commissioners, as I have said for several months now, wish to understand the process so that they can properly consider the merits of making their own boundary extension request.

    The Department, in taking this unilateral action without consultation with the parties involved (at least not with Rushen), has strayed some considerable distance from standard IoM Government practice and has certainly ignored rules of natural justice. This matter may be of little importance to your Department and of minor interest to our larger neighbour Port Erin, but to Rushen it could have a very dramatic impact on the Parish’s ability to adequately function in the twenty-first century. Without consultation you are asking us to blindly accept the granting of sweeping powers to an inquiry of which we know nothing but which has the ability to very significantly harm Rushen’s future.

    Other than getting this off the Department’s very long ‘to do’ list I can see no reason why the Department is endeavouring to ignore due process and rush this matter through. Equally I can see no harm in delaying this matter to October Tynwald by which time your Department will have had ample opportunity to explain to us the process you intend to follow. This would give us some reassurance that the Department hasn’t already determined the matter as this undue haste might indicate to those of us who will lose the most if Port Erin’s bid is successful.

    I haven’t had a full response from the Commissioners yet but I expect they will wish at the very least to urgently meet the Minister so that he can explain to us his Department’s extraordinary lack of courtesy and fairness in this matter. I ask you and your colleagues to reconsider this extraordinary, unfair and rushed approach, withdraw this item from July Tynwald, follow proper process, respond to our repeated requests for more information and allow us the courtesy at least of seeing the face of our potential executioner before we meekly submit to our fate.

    After a number of phone calls and emails the Department eventuall provided the following update:
    Following requests from both sides and following our previous conversations with both parties I am writing to hopefully clarify the situation in relation to Port Erin Commissioners boundary extension application and the consequent Inquiry.

    Just by way of background in December 2017, Port Erin wrote to the Department with the formal request to extend their boundary to include the entirety of the Ballakilley residential estate. This had followed on from a number of years of previous correspondence with both Port Erin and Rushen Commissioners. In this time the Department asked that before a formal application be put to us that Port Erin Commissioners should refer in their application to each of the criteria that the Council of Ministers had set out in a report approved in 2004. These criteria and Port Erin Commissioners response to the criteria were eventually included in the draft application and Rushen Commissioners were afforded the opportunity to respond to that draft document in 2016. At the time it was discussed that a further opportunity to respond to the formal application would be afforded in due course.

    The Department have been discussing since December 2017 how the process should progress. The relevant legislation to consider is Section 6 of the Local Government Act 1985. Section 6(2) is the most relevant part it states “Before making an order under this section, the Department shall consult with every local authority whose district is affected by the proposed order, and shall hold an inquiry”.

    The description above explains where we are at the moment. The next stage in this process is to take a Motion to July Tynwald as explained by email and verbally on the phone, this motion to July Tynwald is not about having an Inquiry (which we have to do under the Local Government Act 1985) it is solely to seek Tynwald approval to use the powers of the Inquiries (Evidence) Act 2003 in relation to the Public Inquiry. The Inquiry would still take place even without the powers being granted but this may have consequences to the smooth and efficient running of the Inquiry.

    In terms of process for determination of the application I have set out the following which I hope will assist in your understanding of the steps which we believe we have to go through to progress this matter. I have included indicative dates and these are not yet final due to a number of factors, but we will endeavour to aim for dates on or close to those indicated.

    · Public Notice to be placed in newspaper, on our website and via the Consultation Hub (allowing for written submissions (letter and email) This will allow 6 weeks for responses to be submitted to the Department (We’re currently looking at issuing the Public Notice in August with responses due back mid to late September 2018) This will also see the publication of the application information submitted by Port Erin in relation to the boundary extension.

    · Appoint a chairman and find an Inquiry venue – At the same time as the public notice is being run we intend to approach and appoint a suitably qualified advocate as Chairman to the Inquiry and set an appropriate venue. (August/September 2018)

    · Further notice to be placed in the press setting out details of venue, Inquiry date – intention is to have a submission period to enable the public/ interested parties a further period of time to include further submissions, inform the Chairman of wish to attend the Inquiry (October 2018). The Department currently envisages that this submission period would be in the region of three weeks but will take into account the volume of submissions in response to the first Public Notice and the advice from the Chairman to the Inquiry.

    · Inquiry – November 2018 – January 2019 – Depending on Chairman’s availability etc. and deadlines for submissions as set out above, we would be looking to hold the Inquiry late 2018 or early 2019.

    · Chairman’s report – (February/March/April 2019) – This will depend on when the Inquiry actually takes place and the length of the Public Inquiry itself but the Department would expect that a report from the Chairman could take a few weeks to be complied and then handed to the Department for its consideration.

    · Department’s consideration of report and determination of whether or not to make the Order– (May/June/July 2019). The Chairman’s report will be forwarded to the Department and the Department considers the recommendations contained within and if appropriate may then take an Order to Tynwald.

    I trust that this assists and apologies for the delay in relaying this information to you both.
    The Commissioners considered the correspondence and agreed that the Clerk should write asking for a delay for submissions until October as clearly many interested parties would be on holiday during this period and indeed the Commissioners and Clerk would be taking holidays during this period and it was unlikely that the Commissioners would be able to hold a quorate meeting during the consultation feedback timescale proposed by the Department. It was also agreed that the Clerk should write to Port Erin Commissioners asking whether they have had the opportunity yet to agree membership for the joint Port Erin/Rushen working group agreed at the Commissioners’ joint meeting held on 10th April 2018.
    e) New e-mail addresses – the Chairman has now got his Rushen email working and Mr Gunn agreed to contact Mr Horne to get his new addresses installed.
    f) 2018 Year of Our Island, litter and Beach Buddies – 2pm Saturday 4th August – the Commissioners agreed that the Chairman and Clerk would endeavour to promote the event. The Commissioners agreed that litter pickers should assemble at Ballafesson at 2pm and picking litter should be undertaken along the main roads in and around Ballafesson.
    g) Ballafesson flooding and email regarding flooding at Ballagale Avenue – the Clerk had received information from Mr Vernon but it was agreed that action should be delayed until such time as the hedge had been trimmed on the Surby Road.
    h) Outstanding rates – the Clerk reported that he had received a list of defaulters from Treasury Rates Section. The total outstanding rates for the Parish amount to £5,755.25, £933.13 of which arise from the 17/18 rates year. The Clerk agreed to circulate the list to the Commissioners and will circulate any advice he receives from Treasury on how best to recover the debt.
    i) GDPR Alexander Elliot – the Clerk reported that Alexander Elliot were now appointed.
    j) Public Rights of Way – the Clerk reported that all the paths marked red or amber on the DoI hierarchy were now either cut or the work had been designated to a contractor. The green and blue paths remained the Department’s responsibility.
    k) Maintenance of Radcliffe Close – the Clerk reported that the clearing work at the entrance had been completed. The Commissioners agreed to take action against DoI under high hedges legislation with regard to the very large trees which now risk neighbouring properties.
    l) Play area on the green space within the Ballakilley estate – the Clerk had asked Dandara whether they would be in a position to help but had not yet received a detailed reply
    m) Newsletter – the Chairman agreed to edit the newsletter, with articles to be submitted to him as soon as practicable with a view to having a final draft available for next meeting.
    n) Multiuse recreational space – the Clerk will meet Chris Gregory on 29th July and will report back to the next meeting.
    o) Bench on the Howe – the Chairman and Vice Chairman agreed to repair the two benches on the Howe. The Clerk will write to MNH regarding the bench at Green at Cregneash.
    p) Complaint about high hedges – the Chairman reported that he had visited the affected property and agreed that the land owner who had once again allowed his hedge to get out of control should be requested to undertake adequate maintenance of his hedge. It was agreed that the Clerk should write to the owner asking him to cut his hedge to the previously agreed level.
    q) Smiley Sid – the Clerk reported that the device had been ordered and would hopefully be available for use in August.

    3. SOUTHERN CIVIC AMENITY SITE – Mr Pilling reported that the Board had met since the previous meeting. The Board was again checking figures on composting but they don’t appear to make commercial sense. Subject to DoI approval Ms Hayley Fargher has now been appointed Clerk to Port St Mary Commissioners and so the SCAS Board.
    4. MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION – Mr Gunn reported that there was a short meeting which clashed with a World Cup football match. Minister Harmer and Andrea Hawley attended by very little was discussed.
    5. SOUTHERN SWIMMING POOL AUTHORITY – the Chairman reported that a charity has been established to build a fifty metre pool at King Williams College. The celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the opening of the pool will take place on Sunday 22nd July.
    6. MARASHEN CRESCENT – the Chairman reported that the business of the Committee continues to proceed well at Marashen. A meeting between DoI Housing and the Marashen, Castletown and Malew and Port St Mary Chairs and Clerks had successfully ironed out remaining concerns about the proposed merger between the two Southern elderly persons housing authorities.
    7. SOUTHERN HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE – nothing to report
    8. MANX NATIONAL HERITAGE – nothing to report
    9. ROAD MAINTENANCE AND GRASS CUTTING – the Clerk reported that he had requested that the main road be trimmed between the Level and Ballafesson. This would be swept shortly after it has been cut. The second weed spray of the year had also been undertaken.
    The Clerk reported on income received since the last meeting:

    B] ACCOUNTS FOR PAYMENT (inc. Vat where appropriate)
    The accounts for payment were agreed having been proposed by Mr Vernon and seconded by Mr Pilling

    The following matters were noted.
    a) Confirmation of Commercial Select Insurance renewal
    b) Rossborough Insurance renewal schedule

    The following balances were noted.
    Balance on last statements June/July 2018
    General ‘rates’ account 1,200.00 Liquidity Manager (rates) 84,024.19 Rent account 32,978.44
    Housing account 2,599.67

    a) Email from Clerk to Castletown Town Commissioners – already got big plans at Ballakilley
    As you will no doubt be aware, plans for a concrete riding bowl within Poulsom Park are now well advanced.

    At our board meeting of 4th June, it was resolved that an invitation be made to other local authorities in the South of the Island to consider contributing to the cost of providing such a facility, particularly where there may be no such provision in your own area. I would be grateful if you could raise this as a discussion item for your respective boards.

    Should you require additional information, I have copied Commissioner Cubbon into this email.
    The Commissioners discussed the proposal but were disappointed that no supporting information had been received with this request. The Clerk had requested that a business case be forwarded to the Commissioners but this had not been forthcoming. The Commissioners had many questions none of which could be answered without further information. It was agreed to put the matter on hold until such time as the Castletown Town Commissioners could provide further detailed information.
    b) Recycling bin at Fairy Hill – several complaints had been received regarding the DoI’s glass recycling bin at Ballafesson not being emptied in a timely fashion. The Clerk had reported the matter to the Department but due to a vehicle being parked in front of the bin the Department had been unable to empty the bin for several days. The Commissioners fully supported the Department in placing parking restrictions around the site as necessary.
    c) DHA Consultation – closes 20th August – for consideration
    The Department of Home Affairs is consulting on three Bills that arise out of the Criminal Justice Strategy [GD 0061/12] (the Strategy), which was published, consulted upon and then received at the December 2012 sitting of Tynwald. This consultation will play an important part both in implementing the Strategy and in further directing the modernisation of criminal justice in the Isle of Man. In the important area of criminal justice, and in terms of addressing crimes associated with domestic abuse, we believe it is vital to offer an opportunity for as many persons from as many areas of community life and experience as possible to put forward their views on the forthcoming legislation.
    The Commissioners noted the consultation but had no specific comment to make.
    d) Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2018 – an email from the Cabinet Office reporting the latest position was noted.
    e) Email regarding Fairy Hill from DoI Housing –
    Please accept my apologies for the delay responding which is due to my desire to be as appraised of the fact as I could. It has therefore taken some time to elicit this information. Whilst I appreciate you will not be content with my answers, I do sympathise with the issues raised and will work with you to find at least some closure.
    Overflowing bins:
    Per my earlier response my recommendation is that your Clerk raises this matter with the Waste Management Unit, though as previously advised, I believe they remain aware of the situation. As the “potential” landlord (I would need to confirm the land boundaries) the Division will maintain a watching brief and as assist as far as it is able.
    High trees:
    As previously advised, the Department’s advisor, who has worked closely with DEFA on a number of similar matters, has visited site and I have provided you with his assessment. As you can appreciate, it is not common policy for one government Department to undermine another and therefore it is not usual for DOI to fell healthy trees unless it is necessary; however it is possible, though unlikely, that DEFA would make an alternative assessment.

    Officially, the review under the High Trees and Hedge Legislation is, I believe, £100; however it is perhaps possible that DEFA would visit site more informally to discuss the matter with either the resident or their representative without the need to apply for a review and as previously advised you are welcome to take either approach.

    In the event that a licence to remove the tree is granted, and before the tree were felled, the Division would need to clarify the land boundaries so as to ensure that the extant fence is located at the natural boundary. Also, I have to advise it is unlikely this work would be undertaken through a recharge arrangement.

    Car park:
    Having spoken to Kenny, his recollection is that there was no undertaking to provide a formal response. If this is a requirement then if you can advise, I will ensure more formal response follows. Kenny provided the following advice, which I concur with.

    In essence, the number of parking places was satisfactory for the design standards at the time. Since that time, the number of cars per family has increased substantially, meaning that overspill is common place, not only across public sector, but also private residential provision. Whilst the Department does endeavour to make additional provision where practicable, in this instance, there is land which can obviously be given over to additional parking.

    My further commentary is that if the volume of traffic movements is a health and safety concern, then it is possible that traffic calming measures can be put in place and whilst it is perhaps burdensome to some residents, to the best of my knowledge, as long as the vehicle is on the highway and parked lawfully, the licence holder has the right to park where they choose. Finally if you or your commissioners’ have any practicable solution to address this, or any other issues, the Division will always strive to give you the best of our attention.
    The Commissioners were disappointed at the apparent breakdown in communication between the DoI Housing and the Board and agreed to invite Julie Edge MHK, lead politician on housing, to the next Board meeting.
    f) Invitation from Municipal Association to attend seminar on Tuesday 11 September at 7pm –
    As part of its ongoing commitment to training and development the Isle of Man Municipal Association has arranged a seminar comprising presentations by two expert speakers on environment and waste management issues:
    There will be a presentation by Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland looking at waste management strategies in Highland, Island and remote areas.
    There will also be a talk by Bill Dale, owner of Beach Buddies Isle of Man looking at the work of his organisation and examining issues arising from the shift of waste between countries caused by natural events e.g. tides, wind.
    The Chairman, Mr Pilling and the Clerk will endeavour to attend this waste seminar.
    g) Invitation to Chairman to 40th Anniversary of Swimming Pool opening – this was noted.
    h) Invitation to Chairman to attend meeting at Onchan District Commissioners on Wednesday 18th July at 6pm this was noted.
    i) Tynwald Select Committee on Poverty – letter from Speaker Watterson requesting the Commissioners’ assistance with the Select Committee’s deliberations this was noted and it was agreed that the Clerk would reply on behalf of the Commissioners.
    j) Manx Telecom phone book entry – it was agreed that the Clerk would ensure that an entry for the Commissioners was included in the phone book.
    k) Letter from residents of Ballakeyll regarding Leylandi on the Commissioners’ land – the Commissioners agreed that the Clerk should investigate ownership of the land on which the trees were growing, and if appropriate arrange for the trees’ removal.

    A] Planning Applications
    The Commissioners had no concerns with the following applications.
    a) 18/00033/B Seascapes, Mount Gawne Road. Mr Nick Verardi. Erection of gates to existing access.
    b) 18/004691/B 5, Bradda View. Ms Catherine Kreisky. Replacement roof to annex.

    B] Planning Approvals – the following approval was noted.
    a) 18/00419/B 10 Fleshwick Close. Mr Paul & Mrs Lorna Gresswell-Wilkins.
    Decision – Senior Planning Officer. Approved. Issued 29th June 2018.

    C] Planning Refusals – None

    D] Completion Certificates – the following certificates were noted.
    a) 17/07568/DEX 3, Viking Close. Issued 28th June 2018.
    b) 17/07503/DOM Plot 118, Ballakilley. Issued 21st June 2018.
    c) 17/07466/DOM Plot 105, Ballakilley. Issued 21st June 2018.

    D(i)] Regularisation Certificate – the following certificate was noted.
    a) 18/07239/REG Rose Lea, Viking Close. Issued 12th July 2018.

    E] Planning appeals – None

    F] Other Planning Matters

    a) The Commissioners agreed that a new dog waste bin should be installed on Shore Road just opposite the junction with Castletown Road by the steps leading to the shore.
    b) The Clerk will report to the DoI damage to the sea wall just along from the location mentioned at 14 a) above.
    c) Mr Vernon reported that rubble from the demolished shed at Ballafesson playing fields has now been removed

    15. DATE OF NEXT MEETING Wednesday 15th August 2018