Onchan Local Plan:
Retail, Commerce and Offices
2.1 The current Onchan Local Plan establishes a firm policy to restrict retail developments and use to specific areas within the village, focusing mainly on the central area from the Village Walk (formerly the Onchan Shopping Precinct) and Main Road with a smaller retail area centred on Port Jack. Similarly, a strict policy for restricting office use to the upper floor of existing commercial outlets was included with an additional indication that office use as an element of mixed use would be permitted on the Douglas Bay Hotel site.
2.2 Views received generally supported the continuation of the principle of restricting office and retail development to specific areas although it was indicated by several people that more flexibility should be introduced to permit the sale from existing centres in rural areas of craft items, farm produce or items related to agriculture or horse-riding. Some support was also received for the revitalisation of specific buildings or sites by permitting office use therein: buildings specified were
- Bounty House (28-38, Main Road) (Area 1)
- Avondale House (56, Main Road) (Area 2)
- Douglas Bay Hotel site (Area 3)
- Majestic Hotel site (Area 4)
- Howstrake Holiday Camp site (Area 5)
- Onchan Park Stadium.
2.3 The subject of the introduction of office use on the ground floor of units in the Village Walk was generally greeted with opposition and there were various responses to the issue of the use of the land behind the Archibald Knox Public House (Area 19) insofar as views were received in support of the use/development of the site for purposes of
- health facilities
- sheltered housing and
- open space.
2.4 The Department recognises that office and retail use are necessary to greater or lesser degrees within local communities as means of local employment, support for local facilities and services and provision for local income. The Department also believes, however, that it is pertinent to restrict the development and use of buildings for retail and office purposes to specific areas within the local plan area so that investment may be directed to areas where it is most needed, where it is desired by its customers and to areas where this type of development can be accommodated without detriment to the local amenities. It is particularly important to ensure that any area designated for office or retail use has sufficient space associated with it to accommodate the vehicles which will be generated by such a use. The Coutts Bank building on the Ballacurrie House site has resulted in over spill of the parking generated by the use of the site onto the surrounding streets to the extent that disc parking has now been introduced on Summerhill Road. Previously no specific ratio for car parking associated with office development has been applied and it is now recommended that a ratio of one space per fifteen square metres net of new office floor space be applied.
Site of the former Nursery Hotel - Area 19
2.5 The Department is aware that there is opposition to the use and development of the former Nursery Hotel site (behind the Archibald Knox Public House) for retail purposes. However, this site represents the only significant opportunity for large-scale retail development in the village. Such a largescale development would have the advantage not only of providing a better range of products from which villagers may choose, but would also likely to result in a decrease in traffic movements into Douglas by persons in the village wishing to visit such shops which exist currently only in Douglas. The Inspector appointed to hear the Inquiry agreed with this conclusion and it should be noted that detailed planning permission has been granted recently for such a development on this site (PA 98/1278). It should be noted that the Department also considers that the use of the site for residential purposes, particularly for sheltered housing would be appropriate and as such has introduced flexibility in the permitted use and development of the site (see paragraphs 4.33 and 4.57) and whilst the Inspector has noted that the site would not be suitable for residential development of any sort due to the environment in which the dwellings would be situated and also the means of access through a busy car park, the Department would conclude that in the case of sheltered housing, the traffic movements are likely to be much less than those emanating from private non-sheltered housing and the need to be close to shops and services is much greater. As such, the Department would confirm that the site would be suitable for sheltered housing should the shopping facility not proceed.
2.6 The Department also recognises that permission for office use as part of a redevelopment scheme can assist greatly in the rejuvenation of sites and buildings which are currently underused or neglected. As such, the Department has identified a number of buildings and sites which are outside the area in which office development and use is generally to be accepted, where use or redevelopment of the site for office purposes will be permitted: these include the Bounty House site (28-38, Main Road) (Area 1), 56, Main Road (Area 2), the Douglas Bay Hotel site (Area 3) and the Majestic Hotel site (Area 4).
2.7 There are, however areas or sites which have been suggested as being suitable for office use/development which the Department does not feel should be zoned or used as such. The Howstrake Holiday Camp site is currently in a state of dereliction which can be seen clearly from the King Edward Road (A11) and the southern end of the Ballameanagh Road. Whilst the site is in dire need of restoration, it is not felt appropriate to try to achieve this by permitting an office development as the visual impact of such a building and the associated traffic movements and car parking is not felt to be appropriate on such an exposed and prominent coastal site.
2.8 Also, the proposal for office use within Onchan Park Stadium is not generally supported by the Department who feels that the facilities at the Stadium and the parking spaces which are available should be retained for purposes associated with recreation and leisure.
2.9 As such, the Department feels that the following policies are appropriate for Onchan with respect to the provision for office and retail development:
RETAIL DEVELOPMENTS (WHICH MAY INCLUDE BANKS, BUILDING SOCIETIES, INSURANCE BROKERS AND ESTATE AGENTS) WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED IN THE AREAS IDENTIFIED AS SUCH IN THE SCHEME ORDER (PROPOSALS MAP). OFFICE USES WILL BE PERMITTED ON THE UPPER FLOORS OF RETAIL OUTLETS WITHIN THOSE AREAS IDENTIFIED FOR RETAIL USE AND ON THE GROUND AND UPPER LEVELS OF THOSE PROPERTIES WITHIN AREAS DESIGNATED AS MIXED USE/OFFICE/RETAIL. OFFICE USE WILL NOT BE PERMITTED ON THE GROUND FLOOR OF THE MAIN SHOPPING LEVEL OF THE VILLAGE WALK
2.11 O/RCO/P/2 - NURSERY HOTEL SITE - Area 19
THE SITE OF THE FORMER NURSERY HOTEL IS CONSIDERED SUITABLE FOR RETAIL DEVELOPMENT OF A LARGE SCALE SINGLE UNIT. IT IS NOT CONSIDERED SUITABLE AT THIS TIME FOR DEVELOPMENT OF FURTHER UNITS OF THE SIZE ALREADY EXISTING IN THE VILLAGE WALK AS THERE ARE AND HAVE BEEN FOR SOME TIME, A NUMBER OF RETAIL UNITS WITHIN THE PRECINCT WHICH ARE UNOCCUPIED AT ANY ONE TIME. ANY APPLICATION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A LARGE RETAIL UNIT MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY ADEQUATE CAR PARKING ON THE SITE TOGETHER WITH SUITABLE LANDSCAPING TO SOFTEN THE IMPACT OF THE BUILDING AND ENHANCE THE APPEARANCE OF THE SITE. CARE MUST BE TAKEN IN THE DESIGN OF THE NEW BUILDING AND THE LAYOUT OF THE SITE TO AVOID UNNECESSARY TREE LOSS AND ADVERSE IMPACT ON ADJACENT RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IN TERMS OF VEHICULAR MOVEMENT OR LOSS OF LIGHT OR OUTLOOK.
2.12 IN ADDITION TO THE PROVISION INCLUDED AT PARAGRAPH 2.10 ABOVE, OFFICE USE WILL BE ACCEPTABLE AS PART OF REDEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS FOR THE FOLLOWING SITES:
- 28-38, MAIN ROAD
- 56, MAIN ROAD
- DOUGLAS BAY HOTEL SITE and
- MAJESTIC HOTEL SITE.
WHERE DEVELOPMENT IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOLLOWING BRIEFS:
2.13 O/RCO/P/4 - BOUNTY HOUSE SITE (28-38, MAIN ROAD) - Area
- development of the site must acknowledge the prominent position of the site within Onchan’s Conservation Area and reflect the architectural style (in terms of window design, finishes, roof shape etc) of Royal Buildings, immediately to the east.
- car parking must be provided on site at a ratio of at least one space per fifteen square metres net of floor space.
- the development must include the retention of Royal Buildings and the refurbishment of this structure where this is considered necessary.
- development must include the widening of the existing footpath alongside Main Road, to at least 2m.
2.14 O/RCO/P/5 - 56, MAIN ROAD - Area 2
- the proposed building must acknowledge the style, proportion and massing of adjacent buildings and whilst not necessarily replicating any of these, the new building must sit comfortably in the streetscape.
- the layout of the site must acknowledge existing rights of way across the site and access to car parking spaces on the adjoining land where this exists.
- car parking must be provided on site at a ratio of at least one space per fifteen square metres net of office floor space.
2.15 O/RCO/P/6 - DOUGLAS BAY HOTEL SITE - Area 3
- the design of the new buildings(s) must acknowledge the prominent position of the site and present a suitably dominant and attractive structure as viewed from all sides.
- car parking must be provided at a ratio of not less than one space per 15 square metres net of floor space.
- any detailed application must include a landscaping scheme to soften the impact of the new development and particularly to screen any car parking which may be visible from outside the site.
2.16 O/RCO/P/7 - MAJESTIC HOTEL SITE - Area 4
- the height of the new building(s) erected between the former hotel and King Edward Road may not exceed that of the former Majestic Hotel that is a maximum ridge height (excluding chimneys) of 56.00 above ordnance datum. Any buildings built on the lower part of the site - that is between the former hotel and the public footpath - must be reduced in height below the level referred to above in recognition of the sloping nature of the site.
- parking must be provided on site at a ratio of at least one space per 15 square metres net of floor space.
- any detailed proposal must include a landscaping scheme to complement the buildings proposed and to soften the impact of the buildings proposed. Particular attention will be paid to the impact of the development from the public footpath which runs on the coastal side of the site and no buildings will be permitted any closer to the footpath than 20 metres.
THE DEPARTMENT WILL NOT GENERALLY OPPOSE THE PROVISION OF SMALL-SCALE RETAIL OUTLETS WITHIN THE COUNTRYSIDE WHERE THESE ARE BASED ON EXISTING BUILDINGS OR SITUATED IN EXISTING BUILDING GROUPS AND WHERE SUCH OUTLETS SELL FARM PRODUCE (GROWN OR PRODUCED ON THE FARM IN WHICH THE OUTLET IS SITUATED), FARM OR HORSE-RELATED PRODUCTS. SUCH OUTLETS WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WHERE:
- THERE IS SUFFICIENT INFRASTRUCTURE TO ACCOMMODATE THE PROPOSED USE,
- WHERE THE DETAILED DESIGN OF THE BUILDING(S) TO BE USED IS ACCEPTABLE AND
- WHERE THE PROPOSED USE WOULD NOT BE UNNEIGHBOURLY BY VIRTUE OF NOISE, TRAFFIC OR VISUAL IMPACT.
THE DEPARTMENT WOULD GENERALLY FAVOUR THE USE OF EXISTING BUILDINGS RATHER THAN THE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW BUILDINGS FOR THIS PURPOSE.
NOTE: where applications are made for this type of development, the Department would expect there to be provided a description of the type of retail use proposed and a list of items likely to be sold. This is in order to avoid the creation of general retail outlets in the countryside which is contrary to policy O/R/P/1 above.
ALL RETAIL AND OFFICE DEVELOPMENTS (INCLUDING CHANGES OF USE TO PROVIDE SUCH FACILITIES) MUST HAVE ASSOCIATED WITH THEM SUFFICIENT OFF ROAD CAR PARKING TO ACCOMMODATE VEHICLES GENERATED BY THE PROPOSED USE OF THE SITE. A RATIO OF 1 SPACE PER 15 SQUARE METRES NETT OF FLOORSPACE WILL GENERALLY BE REQUIRED FOR NEW OFFICE DEVELOPMENTS: SUFFICIENT PARKING FOR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF WILL BE REQUIRED FOR NEW RETAIL DEVELOPMENTS. IN ADDITION TO THE LATTER, PROVISION MUST BE MADE FOR LOADING, UNLOADING AND DELIVERIES.