Your Onchan

Onchan Local Plan:


1.1 The first land use planning document which applied to Onchan was the Isle of Man Planning Scheme (Development Plan) Order which was adopted by Tynwald in 1982. This covered not only Onchan but the Island as a whole. In 1989 a local plan was produced for Onchan in its own right. This was adopted by Tynwald on 18th October, 1989 and has continued to be applied as the policy document for Onchan since that date.

1.2 Despite a stated intention to monitor and review the provisions of that plan, no such monitoring was undertaken. As such, the Department of Local Government and the Environment resolved in January, 1998 to undertake a review of the Onchan Local Plan. This initial resolution resulted in an Issues and Options document which was circulated to the public and Government Departments in May of that year. Over 100 responses were received, covering a wide range of issues. The Department has considered these views and has translated these, together with its own thoughts and views into a series of policies, proposals and recommendations which will be applied to Onchan.

1.3 One of the issues discussed was the extent of the parish which should be considered in the review of the Local Plan. The 1989 Onchan Local Plan covered all of the area which was included within the old village boundary which resulted in a study area which finished at the northern side of Birch Hill but included all of the land stretching to Groudle Beach. It was proposed in the Issues and Options document that the boundaries should be expanded to include more of the district and this was greeted with a variety of responses. Some individuals felt that this should be avoided as this would inevitably lead to a proportionate increase in the amount of land which would be available for building. Others felt that the boundary should be extended to cover all of the district and not just that area shown on the map which accompanied the document.

1.4 The Department has resolved that, as proposed by Onchan District Commissioners, the boundary of the study area should correspond with the boundary of the district: the boundaries are shown on the accompanying Proposals Map. Whilst this in itself in parts is not a particularly logical study area in planning terms, for example the strangely shaped annex which covers Clucas' Laundry at Tromode, it is considered the most appropriate, given that many of the areas immediately adjacent to the study area are already the subject of local plans which have been approved by Tynwald only relatively recently (Braddan and Douglas and in the case of the former a review of the Braddan Local Plan is to be undertaken in the forthcoming year).


1.5 Local plans are generally intended to apply national and local planning policies and strive to ensure the correct balance between stimulating and encouraging development where appropriate and identifying those areas which should be protected from development in the interests of preserving the rural and natural environment.

1.6 The 1982 Development Plan Order provided significant opportunities for development in Onchan and at the same time designated significant areas around the village as of High Landscape Value and Scenic Significance together with areas of "white" land which is not designated for any particular purpose and in which there is a general presumption against development. The 1982 Plan also identified areas of reservoir catchment and areas which were considered unsuitable for development due to a danger of pollution of the existing or future supply of water.

1.7 The Onchan Local Plan which was adopted by Tynwald in 1989 examined only the village of Onchan which represents in general terms the built-up part of the village but stretching as far as Groudle Glen and Beach. This document contained many policies and proposals for this area with regard to issues such as retail, tourism, offices, residential development, industry, open space and traffic.

1.8 This revision of the Onchan Local Plan has re-examined the policies and provisions of both of these documents in the light of the circumstances and views which have emerged since then. The following are considered the principal objectives of the local plan:

  • - to examine the identified needs of the existing community with the local plan area and provide opportunities to meet those needs through appropriate land use designations
  • - to identify particular areas within the local plan area which require protection from development including areas which are of importance in terms of conservation of the landscape, its wildlife and natural resources - to identify those areas which may be suitable for further development and to indicate how such development may occur - to enable the fulfilment of the above principal objectives through the establishment and implementation of an effective series of policies, proposals and recommendations.

1.9 Whilst the first of these requires an examination of the needs of the existing community and consideration of the provision of opportunities to meet those needs, the Department has been aware from the outset of the review of the Onchan Plan that the opportunities for additional development are likely to come mainly through the expansion of the existing development into the surrounding countryside. From an early stage, the Department has formed the opinion that this should be considered very carefully and it has been equally clear that there is strong local feeling that Onchan has contributed significantly in previous decades to the growth of the Island's population and housing and as such the time may have come to limit the further spread of Onchan into the surrounding area. As such, from the outset it was apparent to the Department that the Onchan plan may well not be able to meet the needs of the existing population in terms of the provision of new housing in order to prevent the expansion of the village at its periphery where this would have an unacceptable visual impact. As such the Department would accept that the plan has largely been prepared on the basis of the visual and physical impact of new development on the village and the surrounding area.


1.10 The 1991 Sector plans provided a series of broad policies, proposals and recommendations for the whole of the Island. Although these were of a more general nature, where appropriate reference to individual settlements and specific issues was clearly made.

1.11 The Office of Planning has set out the broad policies, proposals and recommendations applicable to the village of Onchan in the following chapters.


1.12 Policies are statements of attitude or intention towards existing or postulated situations which require action.

1.13 Proposals are intended action of some significance to the plan by the Department of Local Government and the Environment, Departments of Government, private or public bodies or individuals and which the Planning Committee feels confident will be implemented.

1.14 Recommendations are statements where the Department of Local Government and the Environment has no direct control over implementation and where another body has been asked to take action in support of the land use aspects in the plan

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