- Development Control and Enforcement - including whether planning permission is needed and viewing planning proposals in your area
- Planning Policy
- Registered Buildings and Conservation Areas
- Building Control
- Mapping Services
This website deals with many of the general questions that are asked about planning and building control. Officers from the Planning & Building Control Division are also available to answer your queries by telephone or in person. We are located in Murray House, Mount Havelock, Douglas and full details of how to contact us can be found on our contacts page.
Planning goes beyond the traditional idea of drawing boundaries on maps, and looks at supporting the needs of different groups of people, business, leisure and transport in a variety of ways. It links together traditional land-use planning with other activities, to balance competing uses of land whilst retaining local identity and supporting community needs. Planning manages new development in the interests of the community, including the use of land and buildings. It aims to create better places for people to live, work and spend their leisure time and plays a key role in promoting well being and providing for the economic success , protecting and making best use of the Island’s heritage and environment and promoting social inclusion of the whole Island community.
Building Control concerns the actual construction processes of any building work, it deals with the details of how a building is actually put together to ensure that it is built to the correct technical standards and that it is a safe structure.
What We Do
The Planning & Building Control Division is part of the Department of Infrastructure. The planning system in the Isle of Man is a ‘single tier’ system with the Planning & Building Control Division undertaking the different elements of the planning function.
The Town and Country Planning Act 1999 is the primary piece of planning legislation under which planning and building control activities take place. There are many different planning Orders and Regulations (Secondary legislation) made under this Act which deal with matters such as permitted development, advertisements.
Development Control and Enforcement
Some building works, which are, known as ‘permitted development’ can be carried out without needing to submit a formal planning application. These can be found here. Currently work is underway to update the Permitted Development Orders for householders and some government owned facilities. Most types of development however will require formal planning approval.
Planning proposals are considered against strategic and local / area plan policies and all other planning considerations are taken into account before a decision is made. Members of the community are encouraged to get involved in the planning process and have the right to comment on planning applications, their views will be taken into account as part of the planning process.
Planning applications are submitted for a variety of proposals for example new buildings; extensions and alterations to existing buildings (including changes to their appearance); changes of use of land and buildings and variations of planning conditions that were imposed on previous approvals. Applications are either approved or refused; the majority of applications that are approved will have conditions attached to that approval that have to be met prior to commencement of work, or control the way that the use or development is carried out. Where people have not submitted appropriate applications or are making changes which do not comply with attached conditions, then planning enforcement action may take place. If you believe that there has been a breach of planning control, then you can contact our Planning Enforcement Officer.
On this site you can view planning applications that have been submitted to the Department and make your views known. We welcome pre-application discussions with potential applicants on planning proposals in order to improve the planning process; you can find out which planning officer deals with development in your area. For many applications, Planning Officers are themselves able to make a decision through a system of ‘delegation’.
For the majority of applications that are not determined through delegation, decisions are made by a Planning Committee, which is made up of lay members appointed by the Council of Ministers and Chaired by a political member of the Department of Infrastructure. For more on the role of the Planning Committee and planning applications or if you wish to make a planning application please click here . There is also an appeals process, which includes a form of third party right to appeal. The appeal process is administered independently outside of the Department of Infrastructure, by the Chief Secretary’s Office; for more information follow the link to Planning Appeals.
Planning applications where the Department of Infrastructure has an involvement are currently determined by the Council of Ministers, who can also "call in” applications which raise considerations of general importance to the Island. These applications are considered by Independent Planning Inspectors who report their findings to the Council of Ministers for decision.
Planning policies help to describe / interpret legislation, and provide the detail to guide new development. These are approved by Tynwald . You can also find links to the planning policies have been adopted, including the Development Plan for the Isle of Man. This comprises two elements – the Strategic Plan which sets out the overarching strategic policies and a series of more detailed site specific proposals in Local Plans. Many of the Local Plans date back to the 1990’s and work is underway to replace them with 4 Area Plans. The first of these, the Area Plan for the South, has been adopted by the Department and Approved by Tynwald and is now in operation in the South of the Island.
Registered Buildings and Conservation Areas
The historic environment is part of our everyday culture and the Isle of Man has a diverse built heritage with many cherished and important buildings and areas The very best of Manx built heritage is recognised in the designation of Registered Buildings and Conservation Areas . Buildings can be Registered for their individual importance or as part of a group and it is usually the whole of the building, together with all other structures within its boundary or 'curtilage', which is Registered and not just its most important features. If you want to make alterations to a Registered Building you must apply for Registered Building Consent.
Building Control regulates the actual construction processes of the work, highlighting the elements of how a building is put together and in particular ensuring that the building has a safe structure. Standards must be met in the construction of all types of buildings, addressing matters including the foundations, damp proofing, fire protection etc. ultimately seeking to protect the health and safety of people who use the property. Building regulations also consider matters such as disabled access into and about the building. Your plans for the development will be checked to make sure they meet the regulations and the work will also be inspected during the build at key construction stages. If the project meets the regulation requirements, a completion certificate will be issued. This document is important as your solicitor may need it if you decide to sell your property.
There are some instances where a building regulations application would be required and a planning application would not and vice versa.
It is important to note that building regulations approval is entirely separate from planning permission. Receiving one does not automatically ensure you will receive the other.
The Isle of Man Survey, which is the Isle of Man Government's Official Mapping Service is part of the Department of Infrastructure.
The Isle of Man Survey is responsible for, and consequently owns, the large scale mapping of the Island and is tasked with developing, licensing and promoting the large scale mapping and derived products.
The Mapping site will provide information that will help you to decide which of our products and services may be of use, how to obtain them, and who to speak to, whether it be information about GPS stations on the Island, digital mapping, web mapping for tourists or the purchase of location plans for planning applications.