Hundreds of hectares of green land could potentially be zoned for housing or employment as part of a new development plan for the east of the island.
Maps showing how the boundaries of Douglas and Onchan could expand in future have gone on display at the Sea Terminal this week.
They show, for example, a 30-hectare greenfield site off Braddan Road by the Jubilee Oak junction where developer Hartford Homes, with the support of the landowners, wants to build 200 to 300 family and affordable homes.
The maps are part of a preliminary publicity consultation for the long-awaited Area Plan for the East which will cover Douglas, Onchan, Braddan, Laxey, Lonan, Marown and Santon and will guide development for the next 10 years and beyond.
It follows a call for sites exercise issued in July last year when landowners, developers, government departments and statutory boards, local authorities and the public were invited to put forward land for development.
These areas are marked pink on the maps for housing or purple for employment land. But it doesn’t mean they will all be developed - although they all remain under consideration.
In Onchan, for example, the King Edward Bay golf course was put forward as the site for 600 new three- to four-bed family homes by the agent for landowner Golf and Leisure Ltd, who also proposed 70- plus acres of public open space, and the extension of the Raad Ny Foillan coastal footpath.
But while this passed the preliminary screening it failed one of the critical constraints due to the scale of development on this prominent headland.
Two other proposed sites for housing on the outskirts of Onchan, the 47-hectare Bibaloe Moar Farm and 150 homes proposed for the 33-hectare Ballakilmartin Farm failed at the first stage.
But two other sites put forward for housing have gone on to the next stage with a full draft assessment produced - 10 hectares of greenfield land off Ashley Road suggested by Onchan Commissioners and a further 10 hectares at Ballachrink Farm next to Birch Hill Park, on which landowner Dandara has proposed for 250 new homes.
In Newton in Santon five plots have gone on to this next stage - including 30 hectares of greenfield to the north of Moaney Road suggested by the Cabinet Office as a site for 149 houses and four hectares of grazing land on which landowner Dandara wants to build 65 homes.
In Braddan Dandara has proposals for 150 to 200 homes on the Camlork site but the development would be dependent on protecting and ancient keeill on the site.
The latest strategic plan, published in 2016, calls for 2,400 homes to be built in the east by 2026, alongside 770 in the north, 1,120 in the south and 770 in the west. So far 272 new homes have been given planning approval in the east.
The strategic plan forecast the population to rise from 84,497 in 2011 to 88,226 in 2017. But the results of the latest interim census, due to be published later this week, are widely expected to the show the population has actually fallen below 84,000.
Policy and Reform Minister Chris Thomas MHK described the preliminary publicity consultation, which runs to 5pm on April 21, as a ’pivotal moment’.
His aim was to have a draft plan by the end of the year. This would go to consultation and then to a public inquiry with the intention of seeking Tynwald approval for the East Area Plan in 2019.
Mr Thomas said: ’This stage is all about presenting our evidence gathered so far, setting out the broad topics to be addressed, and seeking views about what the draft plan should look like. There are obvious issues to consider such as where our housing land should be, but there are also many other matters to cover such as what land opportunities will be needed for health or education in the future.
’Government has yet to make any decisions so is open to views.’
The maps will be on display at the Sea Terminal this week, with planning officers on hand between 11am and 3pm.
Documents can viewed online at https://www.gov.im/tape
The southern plan was published in 2013.
The plans for the west and the north are yet to be published.