The Department for Enterprise has published a consultancy report into Urban Development Agency models to inform the potential future development of unoccupied urban sites in the Isle of Man.
The report was commissioned following Tynwald approval of a report from the Select Committee on the Development of Unoccupied Urban sites. One of the approved recommendations stated that action should be taken to set up a Development Agency in partnership with local Government and the private sector.
Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Enterprise, commented:
‘The completion of the research and delivery of the consultancy report is an important step towards the creation of a Development Agency. Given the likely significant public and political interest in such an Agency, it is essential that we ensure the correct structure is in place to enable efficient delivery of projects to improve our urban areas whilst recognising the inevitable scrutiny and need for good governance.
‘As part of this work it is imperative that we engage in development that is environmentally sensitive and utilises low carbon impact designs and materials that comply with the government’s forthcoming climate change policy. Work is continuing to bring the Island development plan up to date alongside general improvements to the planning system to provide opportunities for social, environmental and economic benefits to better support Government’s journey towards a sustainable Island.’
The Development Agency approach has been adopted in a number of other jurisdictions, and the consultancy report analysed the differing models in order to assess which may be more applicable in the Island.
The report was also further informed by a wide range of dialogue with stakeholders from both the private and public sector, in order to fully understand the need and required structure, powers and governance framework required for it to succeed.
The report proposes five key recommendations:
- Establish a Development Agency that is autonomous, in corporate form, and accountable through transparency and trust
- Provide the Development Agency with sufficient powers to achieve its strategic goals, set within an agreed Master Plan
- Identify strategic redevelopment areas and provide the framework to deliver cost neutral development outcomes
- Establish and maintain a flexible fiscal and funding environment in which development is economically viable
- Coordinate multi-agency and Government initiatives to maintain economic development
The Department is working collaboratively with the Departments of Infrastructure, Environment, Food & Agriculture, the Cabinet Office and Treasury as part of a cross Government working group on all of the recommendations of the Select Committee and will consider the next steps as part of the broader response to the Select Committee report which is due to be brought back to Tynwald in December by the Minister for Policy and Reform.