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New measures to enhance planning transparency

Friday, 21 November 2014

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK has given a commitment to publish headline performance statistics as part of a drive to further enhance transparency in the Isle of Man planning system.

The Department will provide a quarterly update on the number of planning applications dealt with and the length of time taken to reach a decision. The information will be available on the Isle of Man Government website.

Statistics for the 12 months from October 2013 to the end of September 2014 show:

  • 1,551 planning applications were determined
  • 87% (1,339) were approved
  • 70% (1,091) were determined within 8 weeks
  • 88% (1,373) were determined within 13 weeks 

Minister Gawne said:

‘Planning is important to everyone in the Isle of Man. It has a crucial role to play in supporting Government’s national priority of growing the economy, while reflecting the needs of local communities and protecting our environment. I am committed to driving forward changes that will increase customer focus, improve efficiency and deliver even better value for taxpayers’ money.’

He added:

‘Publishing statistics online will give people an insight into the performance of our planning division. I believe it will also help to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions that exist around planning. There is a view that the system sometimes puts the brakes on development or is a long and drawn-out process. The reality is very different. The vast majority of applications are approved and most are determined within two months.’

The quarterly publication of statistics will build on other measures to improve the openness of the planning system, including: 

  • A move to allow members of the public to speak at Planning Committee meetings
  • An online service to enable people to view planning applications and the officer reports that inform the planning process
  • An email alert to notify people when the weekly planning publication list appears online 

The Department of Infrastructure, which has responsibility for Planning and Building Control and the preparation of planning policy and legislation, will also be inviting feedback on a wide range of planning issues over the next three months.

The Draft Strategic Plan and a number of new or revised Permitted Development Orders are among the topics that will be open for comment.

Minister Gawne said: 

‘I believe there is scope to modernise processes and remove some of the bureaucracy in certain areas, while maintaining the robust nature of our planning system. The forthcoming consultations are part of a joined-up process and will provide an opportunity for people to have their say on a number of important issues. I would encourage people to look at what is being proposed and submit their views to the Department.’

A range of different methods will be used to raise awareness of the consultations, including the Government website, the Department of Infrastructure’s social media channels and public displays.

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