Action plan to improve the planning system

Closed 8 Jan 2018

Opened 20 Oct 2017

Feedback updated 17 Apr 2018

We asked

In order to gather public feedback on the possible changes to the planning system being considered by Government, a consultation was published as an Online Survey on the Consultation Hub. It consisted of 55 questions.

You said

There were 171 submitted responses although the respondents could choose not to answer some of the questions. Responses to the survey submitted online or via email/letter provided comprehensive comments have shaped the future work programme.

We did

Consultation responses have been published in full or anonymously, where such permission has been given by the respondent.

The ideas contained in the consultation have been assessed in terms of public support, the benefits that each change would be expected to deliver and the ease of implementation.

This process helped to establish a number of actions that will deliver a clearer, simpler and more effective planning system that works for the interests of our residents and businesses.

The action plan on proposed planning reform will be announced by Policy and Reform Minister Chris Thomas MHK at the May 2018 sitting of Tynwald.

Results updated 16 Apr 2018

Thank you to everyone who took the time to make comments and give us your detailed thoughts. We appreciate that this was a detailed consultation, and that a lot of time and effort was put into each submission.


Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The Isle of Man planning system like planning frameworks elsewhere around the British Isles, was designed and is operated to manage development, balancing sometimes competing interests. The broad aim is to develop the Island sustainably and one of the 20 outcomes in the Programme for Government 2016 - 2021 is to:

Have a planning system which supports sustainable growth

In recent months planning system issues have been highlighted in a review carried out by officers for the Council of Ministers, as they were highlighted in two previous reviews:

Four policy statements, underpinned by actions and indicators, were set out to guide Government to achieve its planning system outcome:

  • Shape and design a planning system informed by recent reviews and consultation
  • Make it easier for Government’s priorities to be reflected in the way planning applications are considered
  • Develop a programme for the ongoing monitoring and updating of the Island Development Plan and where appropriate consider bringing forward development land by other mechanisms
  • Review our processes and desired goals in respect of the conservation of our built environment

The aim now is to address the issues which have been identified, making any changes needed to have an effective planning system which brings with it the right level of regulation and certainty, is proactive not just reactive, and which can clearly demonstrate its value to the public.

Some reforms are clearly necessary. Generally these involve change which is straightforward and which can be brought into effect easily.  Government would like to progress these changes and is telling the public what it proposes to do in coming months.

Implementation of other reform may not be quite so straightforward. For instance change may represent a significant move away from current practice, require legislative amendment, generate differing views from stakeholders, raise more questions and generally require more consideration.

Why your views matter

This is your opportunity to help Government make the right decisions for the planning system and prepare properly to bring these changes into operation. Your views will be helpful whether your experience is of the planning application process, the preparation of a local or area plan or the environment or heritage aspects of our Island.

Some of the key ideas being explored are:

  • Enabling Government to bring forward changes in policy more easily (in order to make it easier for Government’s priorities to be reflected in the way planning applications are considered as set out in Programme for Government)
  • Reviewing our town centre/retail policy to ensure it continues to meet the Island’s current and future needs
  • Introducing an infrastructure levy for larger applications, so that new development better supports communities and the economy
  • Using compulsory purchase powers to help enable development
  • Increasing the use of Permitted Development Orders, for example to make it easier to introduce new telecommunications technology and to simplify changes in the use of buildings

Who should take part?

This consultation is relevant to you if you:

  • have an interest in how the Island will be developed
  • are likely to be a future applicant
  • wish to comment on applications
  • have monitored the progress of a local or area plan
  • have an interest in heritage and conservation. 

What happens next

Thank you to everyone who took the time to make comments and give us your detailed thoughts. We appreciate that this is a detailed consultation, and that a lot of time and effort has been put into each submission.

We have considered all of the comments, and prepared a summary report which is available to download.

Some of you have asked for your submissions to be made public, and they will soon be made available on the Consultation Hub. Everyone who has asked that their submission not be made public will have their wishes respected.

Informed by the consultation feedback, Proposals to Reform the Planning System will be presented to Tynwald in May 2018.


  • All Areas


  • Tenants
  • Landlords
  • Homeowners
  • Leaseholders/ landowners
  • Business owner


  • Planning applications
  • Planning policy
  • Local Plans
  • Land & Property
  • Building control
  • Development Management