Paul Weatherall, MHK Candidate for Ayre and Michael on Housing

Housing — Nests & Nest Eggs

The Island’s Housing Strategy is divorced from the reality of housing need. Liberal Vannin will campaign for an Island-wide policy to provide affordable, suitable and sustainable housing to meet the needs of Manx residents. In particular, an improved first time buyer’s scheme is urgently needed.
In Ayre & Michael, the Area Plan for the North & West suggests that there is little or no requirement for additional housing. If elected, I will resist planning applications that encroach on productive farmland, while supporting limited development that helps to keep our villages vibrant and allows our young people to find affordable homes in the area in which they have grown up. Priority must be given to development on ‘brownfield’ sites.
Restrictions on multiple home ownership should be considered and an Island Housing Association or Trust established to provide and manage social housing for those who find it difficult to enter the housing market. This would allow the Department of Infrastructure to focus on strategic need, instead of property management.
A range of sheltered housing and residential care homes are needed to provide choice for those of us who find ourselves unable to remain in our own homes as we get older.
Planning rules should be relaxed to make it easier to convert properties into holiday accommodation, to support our rural economy. Likewise, rules should be relaxed to support people who choose to work from home, incorporating studios and workshop space within or adjacent to their homes. I will also seek to work closely with the Diocese to find innovative ways to preserve the many iconic churches in the constituency.
Many properties have inadequate insulation. Improved grant and loan schemes will need to be developed to help people make their homes more fuel efficient and convert heating systems from fossil fuels, as oil and gas boilers require replacing. Electricity prices must be capped to ensure that everyone can continue to afford to heat their homes after conversion.
In Liberal Vannin, we believe in a property owning democracy. Our homes are not only our castles, but are the heart of our communities.