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A helping hand through the planning process

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Department of Infrastructure has published a leaflet to highlight a service that helps guide people through the Isle of Man’s planning application process. 

Pre-application advice is currently offered free of charge by the Department’s planning officers. It is available on a discretionary basis to all applicants, from home owners wishing to carry out modest changes to their properties to developers embarking on large-scale projects.

The overarching aims of the service are to:

  • Help customers identify issues relevant to their proposal
  • Improve the overall quality of applications
  • Reduce the number of applications for proposals that are unlikely to be acceptable, and to guide applicants on alternatives

Planning and Building Control deals with about 800 enquiries for pre-application guidance each year and can provide customers with impartial planning advice.

It has stressed that the service cannot give certainty regarding the outcome of an application, as proposals can only be properly tested through the planning application process itself.

‘Pre-application Guidance for Customers’ outlines the scope of advice that can be provided, typical matters that may be discussed, how to submit an enquiry, how enquiries are dealt with, contact information and links to further advice.

The leaflet can be found on the Government website and copies are also available from the public counter at Planning and Building Control, Murray House, Mount Havelock, Douglas, IM1 2SF.

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said:

‘Many people do not know where to start when it comes to planning issues or may feel daunted by the prospect of submitting an application. Pre-application advice is intended as a helping hand through the planning process. We would encourage people to read the guidance leaflet and to take advantage of the service, as it really is a win-win for the Department and its customers. Applicants can receive helpful and impartial advice about their proposals, while the Department benefits from an improvement in the quality of the planning applications being submitted.’

He added:

‘This is part of our overall drive to improve efficiency, reduce bureaucracy and provide more customer-focused services. Planning plays an important part in Island life, both in terms of its importance to individuals and communities and in contributing to the Government’s national priority of growing the economy. Pre-application advice is a way of supporting the continued smooth operation of the planning system.’

In addition to pre-application guidance, householders can also make use of the interactive website to establish whether they need planning approval for proposals relating to a residential dwelling, such as an extension, conservatory, garage, garden shed or satellite dish.

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