The Henry Bloom Noble Library will be hosting two joint Councillor/MHK surgeries in January, the first on Saturday January 5, the second on Saturday January 26.
Douglas Borough Council Leader Councillor David Christian MBE JP, who will be attending the session on January 5 with Minister for Policy and Reform Chris Thomas MHK, said:
‘These joint surgeries provide an opportunity for the public to meet with Members of the Council and of the House of Keys to discuss the issues that matter to them and to find out more about future local and central government proposals.
‘As we enter a new year of challenge and change there will be a whole raft of issues and projects on which we would welcome the public’s views.
‘By way of example the proposed Lord Street bus station scheme is set to be one of the Island’s largest and most ambitious mixed-use developments in recent years. The Council supports the scheme in principle but has a number of concerns and is liaising with the Planning Committee and monitoring the application closely.
‘Then there is the matter of the Council’s proposal to reduce the number of Wards from six to four and Council membership from 18 to 12, with effect from the 2020 local elections. This we believe will better reflect the growth of the Borough of Douglas and lead to fairer representation across four restructured Wards.
‘The Council is also closely involved with the Cabinet Office in its draft proposals for the Area Plan for the East, which aims to identify the type of development that might be supported on seven key sites in Douglas, such as the Villiers and the Cambrian Place/Walpole Avenue/Middlemarch sites. Although the formal consultation has ended, we’d still be interested to hear people’s views for when we consider future planning applications, given that the way sites are developed can have a major impact on the town’s economy and quality of life.
‘There is also the matter of the government’s proposal to construct a new sea wall on Harris Promenade to reduce wave overtopping. The Council has raised objections to the Planning Committee on a number of grounds; in particular, we are concerned that emergency services’ access to the beach could be seriously comprised.
‘The Council is also keen for more people to subscribe to its kerbside collection service. The more recyclable material that can be removed from the waste stream means the fewer gate fees will be attracted at the energy from waste plant, which reduces the burden on the rates. With this in mind we would be interested to learn what might make householders who have yet to sign up for kerbside collections reconsider.
‘These are just a few examples, but there are undoubtedly many other topics for discussion. I would urge the public to seize the opportunity these surgeries present to meet with Councillors and MHKs in an informal setting and have their say on the issues which will determine the future of Douglas.’
The surgeries will be held from 11am to 1pm on Saturday January 5 and Saturday January 26 at the Henry Bloom Noble Library in Duke Street, Douglas.