• Minutes of the 27 September Meeting

    October 29th, 2018 by Stan Pilling in General News ·Meeting Minutes

    RUSHEN PARISH COMMISSIONERS
    Minutes of the Monthly Board Meeting
    Held 7pm Thursday 27th September 2018 at Halley MacLaig, Ballabeg

    Present: Mr D Radcliffe (Chairman), Mr S Pilling, Mr P Gunn and Mr Young (Vice-Chair)
    Apology: Mr P Vernon
    In attendance: The Clerk

    1. MINUTES: The Minutes of the Meeting held Wednesday 15th August 2018 were agreed having been proposed by Mr Pilling and seconded by Mr Gunn.

    2. MATTERS ARISING.
    a) Street Lighting – LED maintenance costs – the Clerk had heard nothing further but would chase the MUA if he had not heard back by the end of the month. Mr Pilling reported that the cable at the bus stop at the Level has still not been removed. The Clerk would again chase the MUA on this matter and also ask the MUA are there any further poles likely to be removed in the next year or two.
    b) Dog Byelaws – the Clerk will endeavour to complete this task as soon as practicable.
    c) Risk Assessment, Health and Safety – the Clerk reported that the full report from the advisor including his assessment of the sites is expected in the next few weeks.
    d) Port Erin Commissioners – proposed boundary extension and working group meeting – after some discussion and amendments being made, the Commissioners agreed the submission to the DoI in relation to Port Erin’s boundary extension proposal (see Annex). It was agreed that the Clerk should suggest either 10th or 11th October for a meeting of the newly formed working group.
    e) New email addresses – Mr Gunn confirmed that he had activated his new address. The Chair was still having problems sending emails from his account though.
    f) Ballafesson flooding – the Clerk reported that as soon as the hedges were cut in the Surby and Ballafesson area he would revisit the site with Mr Vernon to prepare a list of necessary works. Mr Young commented that if the pavement outside his house was lowered slightly, water could more freely flow into the ditch. The Clerk will request the DoI undertake this work.
    g) Outstanding rates – the Clerk reported that he had not had time to arrange a meeting for himself and the Chairman with Rushen’s Coroner but would do so prior to the next meeting.
    h) Play area on the green space within the Ballakilley estate – the Clerk reported that he had heard nothing further from Dandara but would write again to seek clarification on what works might be undertaken by them.
    i) Newsletter – the Commissioners discussed and agreed the draft newsletter provided by the Chairman. This will be primarily posted but Mr Young agreed to deliver some in the Ballafesson and Ballakilley area.
    j) Multiuse recreational space – the Clerk reported that he had not heard any more from Chris Greggory who had agreed through his charity to develop ideas and plans for the Church Field. The Clerk would contact Mr Greggory shortly.
    k) Bench on the Howe – the Chairman and Vice Chairman reported that works had commenced.
    l) Complaint about high hedges – there had been no action taken or reply given by the errant high hedge owner, so the Clerk would write to him again asking him to respond urgently.
    m) Smiley Sid – the Clerk reported that he had not yet had a chance to erect Smiley Sid.
    n) Manx Telecom phone book entry – the Clerk reported that Arbory now had a new number and this would be diverted to the Rushen line to save Manx Telecom the difficult task of fitting a third line to the Clerk’s house..
    o) Letter from residents of Ballakeyll regarding Leylandi on the Commissioners’ land – the Clerk will contact the tree surgeon shortly to have the works undertaken.
    p) Poor state of the railings at Ballafesson – the Clerk had reported the matter to the DoI.
    q) Public sector rent and allowances – as agreed at the last meeting the Clerk had written to DoI housing requesting a CPI equivalent increase.
    r) Advertising on railings at Ballakillowey roundabout – the commercial advertising had now been removed.
    s) Derelict car on Qualtrough’s lane – the Clerk had not had a chance to pursue this matter but would do so as soon as practicable.
    t) Southern recreation events group – the Clerk will write to Minister Cregeen offering his support and asking when the first meeting will take place.

    3. SOUTHERN CIVIC AMENITY SITE – Mr Pilling reported that the staff welfare hut had blown over in recent storms causing the site to be shut for a few days. The SCAS Board is looking to introduce significant changes to access around the site when composting works cease. The Commissioners noted a letter from the SCAS Board’s Clerk regarding the forthcoming tender process for administration of the site and agreed to pass any comments back to the Clerk.
    4. MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION – the meeting was taking place that evening so Mr Gunn had passed on his apology. Minister Harmer was attending the meeting.
    5. SOUTHERN SWIMMING POOL AUTHORITY – the Chairman reported that there had been a slight change in membership with Miss Carol Quine now representing Castletown on the Board. Thanks to the NSC being closed an extra thousand people a month were attending the southern pool. The alternative KWC site proposal for a new swimming pool back on the table.
    6. MARASHEN CRESCENT – the Chairman reported that the Committee met last week. They are struggling to fill all their flats. The proposed merger with Castletown and Malew Elderly Persons Housing Board was edging closer, and the Clerk would be relinquishing his role as Clerk to the Castletown and Malew Elderly Persons Housing Board as Port St Mary took over in the interim period.
    7. SOUTHERN HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE – next meeting would take place on 4th October.
    8. MANX NATIONAL HERITAGE – nothing to report
    9. ROAD MAINTENANCE AND GRASS CUTTING – the Clerk reported that hedge trimming on the remaining uncut roads in the Parish would be commencing shortly.

    10. RESPONSIBLE FINANCE OFFICER’S REPORT.
    A] REVENUE (inc. VAT where appropriate):
    The Clerk reported on the income which had been received since the last meeting.

    B] ACCOUNTS FOR PAYMENT (inc. Vat where appropriate)
    The accounts for payment were agreed.

    C] OTHER MATTERS
    a) Letters from the IoM Bank regarding forthcoming changes were noted.

    11. FINANCIAL SITUATION – the following position was noted.
    Balance on last statements August/September 2018
    General ‘rates’ account 1,000.00 Liquidity Manager (rates) 160,539.99 Rent account 28,009.22
    Housing account 2,599.78

    12. CORRESPONDENCE
    a) Email from Minister Cregeen –
    I am pleased to advise that all southern local authorities have replied positively towards a recreation and events group. If the local authorities could respond if they wish the meeting to be held in the day or evening? I will respond with possible days shortly.
    Thank you again for your positive response. The Commissioners noted the email and agreed the actions as per Minute 2 t).
    b) Letter from Cabinet Office – consultation on Planning Amendment Bill – This was noted by the Commissioners and it was agreed that the Clerk would check the consultation to ensure it was consistent with the Commissioners’ previously expressed views.
    c) Letter from DoI extending consultation period regarding Port Erin’s Boundary Extension request – this letter was noted.
    d) Email advising of the Household Income and Expenditure Survey – this was noted.
    e) Email giving Year of Our Island Update for September – this was noted.
    f) Email concerning the Green at Cregneash –
    Do your Rushen commissioners still have a lease for the green at Cregneish? (by the phone box) In the past the hedge trimmer man would give it a run over to tidy it up, but this has not been done for a year or two and it does look untidy – this email was noted and it was agreed that the Commissioners would not be undertaking this work as it wasn’t their land, and they had no authority from the landowner to do so.

    13. PLANNING MATTERS
    A] Planning Applications
    a) 18/00872/B 9 Bradda View, Ballakillowey. Mr Warren and Mrs Rainey. Raising height of fence.
    b) 18/00903/B Brook Cottage, Castletown Road. Mr Ballow. Addition of porch.
    c) 18/00919/B Land opposite Grenea Cottages, Shore Road, Kentraugh. Mr & Mrs Anglin. Erection of timber garden building and greenhouse.
    d) 18/00946/B Broomfield Cottage, Qualtrough’s Lane. Mr and Mrs Young. Additional window, and larch cladding to kitchen and recent extension. Mr Young declared an interest when this matter was discussed.

    The applications above a) to d) were supported by the Commissioners.

    e) 18/00955/B Shenvalley Farm, Ballnahowe Road. Cheeseden Investments Ltd. Demolish existing property and replace with larger property.
    The Commissioners were concerned about the positioning of the development and felt it would be improved if it were set back in to the hillside more. With this change the Commissioners would be more inclined to support the application.

    B] Planning Approvals – the following approval was noted
    a) 18/00691/B 5 Bradda View Ballakillowey. Ms Catherine Kreisky. Decision – Principle Planner. Approved. Issued 16th August 2018.

    C] Planning Refusals – None

    D] Completion Certificates – the following certificates were noted
    a) 18/07295/DEX The Lhag, Rocky Road. Issued 23rd July 2018.
    b) 18/07435/DEX Lyndene, Ballakilpheric Road. Issued 20th August 2018.
    c) 16/07008/DEX Cronk Breck, Qualtrough’s Lane. Issued 10th September 2018.
    d) 17/07419/DOM Plot 128, Ballakilley. Issued 12th September 2018.

    D] i) Regularisation Certificate – the following certificate was noted
    a) 18/07480/REG Croym Dty Chione, Howe Road. Issued 14th August 2018.

    E] Planning appeals – None

    F] Other Planning Matters

    14. ANY OTHER BUSINESS – None

    15. DATE OF NEXT MEETING Wednesday 17th October 2018

     

    Annex
    RESPONSE FORM –
    PROPOSED PORT ERIN (BOUNDARY EXTENSION) ORDER 2018

    What is your name?

    Phil Gawne,
    Clerk to the Rushen Parish Commissioners

    What is your email address?
    Email address (required):
    [email protected]

    Are you responding on behalf of an organisation?

    If yes, what is your organisation?
    Rushen Parish Commissioners

    How we will use this information

    Please note that all details and comments received (including any of your personal data that you supply to us) will be passed to the Chairperson of the public inquiry to assist with the determination of inquiry matters.

    May we publish your response?

    Yes, you can publish the Rushen Parish Commissioners response in full

     

    QUESTIONS

    1. Do you reside in the local authority area of either Port Erin or Rushen?
    Yes

    2. Do you live within the proposed extension area?

    Yes

    3. What are your views on the proposal?

    I object to the proposal

    4. Do you wish to attend the inquiry (once a date has been set in coming months)? (This is to assist in making sure we plan effectively for the public inquiry. In due course, the Department will issue another public notice setting out details of the public inquiry. If you wish to appear you will need to confirm this with the Department within any specified timeframes).
    Yes

    5. Will you be intending to further expand on these comments at the public inquiry (at the Chairperson’s discretion) or are you content to rely on the written submissions made here?

    The Commissioners intend to expand further on these comments as there is much more to say about this weak and unneighbourly proposal.

    6. Please provide any comments you might wish to make

    On several occasions now, Port Erin Commissioners have taken developed patches of Rushen territory from the Rushen Parish Commissioners. In the past Rushen Parish Commissioners have reluctantly accepted previous extensions.

    This latest boundary extension application, however, is strongly opposed by Rushen Parish Commissioners as, if it is successful, it will divide key features of the Parish from the community they have always been part of. The proposal would make for a very untidy and uncomfortable boundary between the two authorities’ geographical areas, poking a finger of residential properties between the Rushen facilities which include the doctor’s surgery, the residential home and the school, and the proposed new playing fields and recreational space which will be developed in 2019 in Rushen Parish Commissioners’ fields to the north of Ballakilley development and directly adjoining it.

    The Rushen Parish Commissioners are naturally disappointed that Port Erin Commissioners have chosen to pursue this unneighbourly action, particularly as Rushen Parish Commissioners had expressed their willingness to work with Port Erin Commissioners to ensure the smooth provision of services to residents across the new development. Indeed, the Rushen Parish Commissioners could no doubt make a much stronger case to absorb into Rushen the houses on Port Erin’s side of the Ballakilley development but had no wish to take such a provocative action against its neighbour.

    The whole development is accessed through Rushen, the closest recreation facilities will be provided by Rushen Parish Commissioners, the Church, school, doctor’s surgery and residential home are all in Rushen, the nearest beach is in Rushen and the nearest recycling facility is in Rushen. To reach the main road entrance to Port Erin from the Ballakilley development you need to drive about quarter of a mile through both Rushen and Port St Mary. The shops of Port St Mary are at least as easy to get to as those in Port Erin and many Ballakilley residents have told us they shop in Port St Mary as they feel the shops are closer than those in Port Erin.

    It is clear to the Commissioners that there is strong opposition to this proposal from Rushen’s Ballakilley residents. Around thirty residents have contacted the Commissioners by letter, email, phone and in person to express their anger at this proposal.

    The Rushen Parish Commissioners provide most if not all of the services which Port Erin offers its residents, but we provide these services at a fraction of the cost of those provided by our larger municipal neighbour. The Commissioners understand that it has long been an aspiration for Isle of Man Government to become a policy making, commissioner and regulator of services rather than retaining a large work force to provide and deliver services. Rushen Parish Commissioners is the very epitome of this aspiration of “smaller smarter government”, efficiently providing a range of statutory services to Parishioners.

    If Isle of Man Government and Tynwald wishes to pursue local government reform, then they need to determine their objectives for doing so consider the evidence and make the changes they deem necessary. It is clear to Rushen Parish Commissioners that there is no merit in Port Erin Commissioners’ proposal, and it is hoped that it will be dismissed without the need for any further consideration. If the proposal receives further attention, however, the Rushen Parish Commissioner strongly urge decision makers not to use the opportunity provided by Port Erin to further chip away at the integrity of Rushen Parish and in effect cause ill-conceived local government reform to sneak through the back door.

    The Commissioners wish to make the following observations on the ‘criteria for consideration.’

    In response to Port Erin Commissioners’ initial submission the Rushen Parish Commissioners wish to make the following comments:

    (1) that the promoters’ area and the area/s sought are really one community;

    Rushen Parish Commissioners maintain that the whole of the Four Roads could be regarded as one community, however, none of this community is located within Port Erin Village District. This community has been equally and happily split between Port St Mary and Rushen for many decades.

    The fact that the Ballakilley estate was one development, one planning application and developed by one developer, but built within two local authorities’ districts, does not mean that its residents automatically become part of any one community. Indeed, as previously stated a stronger argument exists for the whole development to be either part of Rushen, or even Port St Mary.

    Also the fact that the Southern Area Plan refers to the site as a single development is largely irrelevant as by extending this analogy you could argue that there was one plan for the south so the whole of the south should be classed as one community.

     

    (2) that there is community of interest in all or most public services, social agencies (for example schools, doctors’ surgery/ies, recreation areas and community halls) and communal requirements of the future;
    Port Erin Commissioners’ comment in relation to this issue provide a strong argument against their application. The school is in Rushen, the doctor’s surgery is in Rushen, the nearest dentist is in Port St Mary at Thie Rosien, the nearest recreation areas will be in Rushen provided at Rushen ratepayers expense.

    Port Erin Commissioners don’t provide any community halls and the nearest community hall is in Rushen at the primary school. The next nearest is in Port St Mary provided by Port St Mary Commissioners. The shops of Port Erin and Port St Mary are equidistant from the Ballakilley development with many Ballakilley residents preferring to use Port St Mary’s shops and Post Office.

    The nearest recycling centre is in Rushen, the nearest Church is in Rushen, the nearest health centre is in Port St Mary and the nearest residential home is in Rushen.

    The comments from the Planning Officer’s Report which Port Erin Commissioners chose to use talk about a settlement. This settlement includes Port St Mary, Rushen and Port Erin which up to now have managed to get on reasonably well without the need for a boundary extension.

    (3) that the area sought is an overspill or outgrowth of the promoters’ area;
    While the Commissioners note the comments contained within the Planning Officer’s Report on which Port Erin Commissioners rely, it is clear that the Ballakilley development adjoins three previously developed areas, namely in Rushen and Port Erin and to a lesser extent Port St Mary. That the Planning Officer chose to ignore the much longer established community and residential development at the Four Roads, Port St Mary and in Rushen does little to advance the Port Erin Commissioners cause. The visible fact is that Port Erin is a relative newcomer to this area and only because it won a previous boundary extension.

    (4) that, wherever possible, clear physical boundaries are followed;
    The current boundary between Rushen and Port Erin is already reasonably clear although a strong argument could be made that the Port Erin part of the Ballakilley development should be absorbed into Rushen. The whole site is accessed through Rushen, the site adjoins many of the facilities residents will use which are in Rushen, and when the Rushen recreation and sports facilities are completed next year these will also tightly adjoin the site.

    As stated above, this latest boundary extension application, if it is successful, will divide key features of the Parish from the community they have always been part of. The proposal would make for a very untidy and uncomfortable boundary between the two authorities’ districts, poking a finger of residential properties between the Rushen facilities mentioned above.

    Port Erin’s reliance on references to a green gap is farcical as the ‘green gap between Rushen’s school, residential home and doctor’s surgery has just been obliterated by the Ballakilley development. The ‘green gap’ to the north of Ballakilley will soon be a series of recreation and sporting facilities support by Rushen Parish Commissioners.

    (5) that there is insufficient acreage left for the development of the promoters’ area within its borders and injury is suffered thereby
    It is clear from Port Erin’s submission here that they were unable to find any strong case to support their argument regarding this point. The Ballakilley development in Rushen is now largely finished and occupied.

    Despite strong attempts by the Rushen Parish Commissioners and local MHKs to have some development sites closely attached to Rushen settlements, this was rejected by the planners and the only significant development site designated for Rushen in the Southern Area Plan was at Ballakilley. If Port Erin’s application is successful, Rushen will lose its only significant residential development site and will have to wait for more than a decade, and a new area plan, before any further residential expansion in the Parish may proceed.

    Port Erin on the other hand has already taken the greater part of the Ballakilley site as part of its allowed expansion under the Southern Area Plan and has several large sites within its district which can be developed for residential use.

     

    (6) that the balance of advantage lies in the acceptance of the scheme, though it may generally be admitted that the area sought may be valuable in various ways to the local authority by whom they are now governed;

    Rushen Parish Commissioners do not consider that the balance of advantage lies in the acceptance of the scheme in view of the comments made on the previous criteria. The Parish of Rushen has ’insufficient acreage left for development within its borders and injury is suffered’ whereas Port Erin still has considerable opportunity for development.

    One of the consequences of approving the proposed extension would be a substantial loss of rate income to Rushen Parish Commissioners which will jeopardise the Commissioners ability to fully develop the sporting and recreation facilities which are so desperately needed and so sorely lacking in the area. While it is recognised that the 1985 Act precludes the financial impact of decisions relating to boundary extensions being considered, the impact on much needed facilities that the lost rate revenue must seriously detract from any perceived balance of advantage.

    In other areas of the Island boundaries have been respected by neighbouring Authorities even where boundaries slice through residential developments. Port Erin Commissioners have, in the past been successful in their boundary extension bids to take two major housing developments away from Rushen Parish District. They appear to have been motivated by gaining the rate income rather than providing any true benefit or advantage to the residents of those developments and indeed several Port Erin Commissioners have conceded that this is equally true for the Ballakilley development.

    The Local Government Unit has confirmed that since 1985 there have been only 6 boundary extension bids – 5 of which were approved. Of these five approved bids two were by Port Erin Commissioners taking land off Rushen – this latest bid would make it three, an extremely high percentage. It should be noted that Port Erin Commissioners have never attempted a boundary extension into Port St Mary despite Thie Rosien, the old Southlands building being split in two between Port St Mary and Port Erin.

    It is clear to Rushen Parish Commissioners that this latest bid by Port Erin is primarily financially motivated, will not improve community cohesion in any way and creates as much confusion in relation to the boundary as it seeks to solve. The Commissioners therefore urge the Inspector, the Minister and Tynwald to reject the proposal.

     

    Concerns about the Consultation
    1. The Commissioners are concerned to note the maps of the Ballakilley development show the Rushen part barely half complete, and yet at the time of publication of the consultation all but a handful of houses had been built. Dandara expect the development to be finished and their teams moved off site by mid-October and Dandara told us last month that all but three of the properties have been sold. The impression given by the map in your consultation, is that the boundary extension applies to a development which is half complete and yet by the time any inquiry is undertaken, the development will be complete, sold and the vast majority of the sixty-six Rushen properties occupied. The Commissioners are therefore concerned that the incomplete map introduces a degree of bias into the consultation.

    2. The Commissioners are also concerned to have noted press comment that Port Erin Commissioners have volunteered to pay the costs of this inquiry. While this is very generous of Port Erin it would be very hard to avoid charges of bias were the ‘applicant’ to pay for the ‘independent consideration’ of the matter, as clearly the inquiry’s chair would then be paid by the applicant. The Commissioners feel sure that the Department would not accept Port Erin’s offer, if indeed it had been made, but wish to register their strong objection to such proposal, should the Department be considering it.

    3. Question 5 in your consultation asks ‘Will you be intending to further expand on these comments at the public inquiry (at the Chairperson’s discretion) or are you content to rely on the written submissions made here?’ It then gives an option of yes or no as an answer. It is unclear what you might infer if someone answered yes to this question. “Yes, I wish to expand”, or “yes, I’m content with making a written submission?” The Commissioners are concerned that people responding to this question may well have wished to expand on their comments but depending on how you interpret the yes or no answers they may be excluded from doing so. The Commissioners would be pleased to understand how the Department will respond to this concern.