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Laxey sea defence plans backed by commissioners

Thu, 06 Dec 2018

Garff Commissioners have voted to back plans by the government to build new sea walls in Laxey, despite opposition in the village.

The Department of Infrastructure has previously stated the local authority would have the final say on whether they go ahead.

Designed to protect against rising sea levels, the plans include a wall along the village promenade with a raised walkway and a harbour wall.

The board agreed to support the scheme at a meeting held last night (Wed 5th), provided conditions on issues over disabled access, harbour access, and parking are met.

It comes after months of deliberation by residents, MHKs and the local authority over the perceived benefits of the scheme.

The commissioners first voted on the proposal for a harbour wall along Tent Road, which was passed 6 for 1 against.

Members also approved the more hotly debated 1.2 meter promenade wall, which would taper in height to the slipway, 5 for 2 against.

Commissioner Julie Pinson was unable to take part in the vote after being deemed to have a conflict of interest.

Infrastructure officials have yet to submit any formal planning application, though it’s understood plans will now soon emerge following the local authority’s backing.

Whist debating the issue, commissioner Marinda Faragher said ‘we have to be responsible and back this, protecting residents’.

These sentiments were echoed by commissioner Peter Kinnish, who said ‘it’s on the table, there’s money behind it, and if we dont back it and the worst happen, it’s on our heads’.

Commissioner Jamie Smith voted against the proposal, and said ‘ I don’t think it’s the right solution or the right time, and I don’t have confidence in the DOI to carry this out’.

Before the vote, members had the opportunity to question former Laxey harbour master John Cowley on his experience of the village beach and river management.

There was also opportunity to view a video presentation by JBA Consulting on the merits of various sea defences in protecting against coastal over-topping.

On Tuesday evening (4 Dec), senior weatherman Adrian Cowin gave a presentation to the board on the changing weather, and predicted sea level rise.

By Local Democracy Reporter Ewan Gawne

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