Having been approached and encouraged by residents of both Braddan and Marown, I wrote to you in July 2001 to introduce myself as a prospective candidate for election to represent the Constituency of Middle in the House of Keys. I have, since that date, called at almost every household in Middle and have met with many of you to obtain your views on how our Island has and should be managed. A small minority of views were extreme, but I was reassured to find that the majority of your views concur with those detailed in this manifesto.
As stated in my July letter of introduction, I firmly believe that the most important function of an MHK is to represent their Electorate. Local Issues are very important and elected members should regularly seek and listen to the views of their electorate on the many issues that concern them. In addition, it is vital that Tynwald Members dedicate sufficient time and effort to introducing well reasoned "National Policies" that will ensure effective management of our Island economy, whilst at the same time protecting our environment, "quality of life" and future income streams for generations to come.
I am Manx and have worked for local Companies starting as a clerk in the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and finally as Managing Director of Heron and Brearley Limited, an employer with substantial assets and a local staff of over 500 people. I have the proven ability to manage the assets of people, property and money. In addition I have widened this management experience in the last four years as a Commissioner of Braddan mainly in the position of Chairman. I offer this wide range of management experience to you, the community, at National level.
I believe that membership of the House of Keys requires full time commitment to ensure that the elected members can relate fully with their constituents and the task of managing the Isle of Man. If elected I will remain independent so ensuring total commitment to the people of this Constituency.
In compiling this manifesto, I have attempted to address some of the many issues discussed with you or your fellow constituents, but being appreciative of your time constraints, I have indexed and listed the headings alphabetically on the pages that follow to allow you to select topics that are of particular interest to you.
I will continue to visit households in the Constituency in the final days prior to the Election to meet the people that were not available when I first called. In the meantime, if you require any additional information on any topic, or if I have omitted an area of particular interest to you, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or email and I will arrange to visit you at a mutually convenient time.
If I am successful in being elected as your MHK, my past record in Local Government representation confirms that I am prepared and committed to help resolve peoples immediate problems, and will continue to provide a "personal dedicated service" to you the people of Middle, and this proudly independent Nation which we are privileged to call our home.
ALLEN J. GAWNE
YOUR CANDIDATE FOR "MIDDLE"
In our Island community, we are, in terms of Government spending, fortunate ó we know which Minister is accountable. Taxes are collected locally and in the main spent locally. We can see our entire environment improving; we can all feel proud of our schools, our hospital services and our neighbourhood. If we are not proud of how or why money is spent, we know who is responsible and can remove them from office as we regularly elect our MHKs and Commissioners in a democratic system. Throughout my life I have strongly believed in the principle of accountability. Not only personally as an individual, but also as an elected representative and throughout all the organisations in which I have been involved.
The Government system is frequently blamed by our MHKs for being slow to react and lacking in commitment, but from my experience, this only occurs in Government Departments where political members make weak policy decisions. I have been accountable through the local authority elections and have been elected on three successive occasions. If elected:
I will accept the more onerous accountability of my role in central Government.
AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY
These are very necessary industries for the lsland and need to be supported by Government Polices, which will ensure that Island farmers and fishermen can compete fairly in both local and global markets. It is a local industry, with a long heritage, which provides Island employment opportunities all the way through from production to retailing of the locally produced product that must be of the highest Quality in this customer driven sector.
Farmers do care for our land and the livestock that we and the many visitors to our treasured Island enjoy the associated valuable product of Tourism would suffer greatly with the demise of farming and this should be avoided by Government working in partnership with the Industry to create a more viable and sustainable operation. If elected I would encourage Government to assist the Industry by introducing:
Recognised farm assurance schemes to assist in the retention and development of markets.
Training courses to improve skills of all within the Industry.
Conservation and protection policies that would enhance our Island and its wildlife habitat.
COMMITMENT TO MEMBERSHIP OF THE HOUSE OF KEYS
I believe that membership of the House of Keys requires full time commitment to ensure that the elected members can listen to the views of their constituents and the task of managing the Isle of Man. If members have outside commercial interests their thought path and decision-making will be disrupted leading to their decision making being compromised.
I am totally independent, and since accepting the responsibility of representing the interests of the community when elected as a Local Authority member 4 years ago, I have, since that time, refused positions in outside commercial operations to avoid conflict. I care for this Island and itís people and if elected:
I will give a full time commitment to focus on the issues that affect you and our community.
CONSTITUTION AND UNDER REPRESENTATION OF MIDDLE
I believe that all members of the Islandís Government, The House of Keys, Tynwald Court and the Legislative Council should be democratically elected. This would ensure all in Government have a mandate from the people, to serve the community bringing the Government nearer to the people of this land.
This reorganisation of the Islandís Parliament would bring into question the representation enjoyed by
Middle in comparison to other constituencies and if elected:
I would promote increased representation within Tynwald Court for the constituency of Middle.
CONSULTATION AND SUPPORT OF THE COMMUNITY
I strongly believe that one of the key responsibilities of a MHK is to facilitate the flow of information between the Government and its people. It is important that your elected MHK takes the time to listen to everyone individually and collectively, to ensure they are fully aware of the range of opinions, avoiding the temptation of taking personal unsupported positions on matters. There is a wide-ranging knowledge base available from within our community and this should be used by MHKs for the benefit of all. They should also devote sufficient time to assist individuals and organisations as and when required after other routes to Central and Local Government have been exhausted.
The experience I have gained in Local Government has already given me an understanding of the problems that need to be resolved and whilst the individual can determine many of these, I have the knowledge to delve deeper if so required. If elected:
I would encourage others to consult more deeply with their communities.
I would promote policies that are well researched and are required by the people of this community.
In recent years Government has introduced significant improvements for families on low incomes, has made available additional funding for Health, Social Services and Education, has reduced taxation for Island residents and has increased Government Reserves. We should all be very proud of this Governmentís achievement but we must also be aware of their concerns over the uncertainty and volatility of the current international economic climate, with the possible potential impact it could have on our economy. It is forecast that the World Economy will slow down and future public spending will have to be prudently managed to ensure that the services we all require to be provided are delivered in a cost effective manner.
We are very privileged to have full employment enabling young people to enjoy the local communities rather than, as in the past, many having to leave the Island to gain employment. The Finance Industry accounts for the largest part of our National Income but its constituents, Shipping, Insurance and Banking are all separate and what effects one, may not effect the others. The Isle of Man can be justly proud of its accredited quality of regulation, making it an ideal location for quality financial businesses to continue to expand but the external pressure to continually improve remains strong. I believe that Government must continue to invest in the necessary "internationally qualified specialist personnel" within the Financial Supervision Commission to keep our Finance Industry well regulated and in line with the ever-changing global standards of best practice.
We need to continue to broaden the base of our economy, so diversifying our National Income streams. Whilst our GDP is now 1% above UK, we must not be complacent, as we focus on building commerce across all sectors. Manufacturing, Tourism, Construction and Agriculture all need the support of Government to ensure their growth so raising their contribution to our total national income and providing a wide range of employment opportunities for us all. If elected I would promote:
Diversification to further spread our National Income streams across all sectors.
The continuation and refinement of the Islandís Tax Strategy to reduce the level of direct taxation whilst at the same time maintaining and enhancing our economic development.
The Education of our children and the community is one of the greatest investments that can be made by any Government and it is vital to the ongoing success of our Island. The Department of Educationís aim to maintain and further develop the Isle of Manís reputation for "educational excellence" must be supported by us all and this is demonstrated, for example, by the substantial investment in modern technology, which in addition to providing every teacher with a computer has also led to the Island providing computer to student ratios that far exceed those enjoyed in the UK.
The recent "Survey of Teaching Staff" has indicated certain concerns within the profession which are now being considered by a cross departmental working group. It is important that the findings of this group are considered at an early date by the department so that the apparent employer/employee tensions are promptly released.
The site for the Islandís sixth secondary school at Bemahague in Onchan has been selected and specifications for this facility are being developed. The provision of this additional facility is welcomed and again it demonstrates our Governmentís commitment to the present and future education of our community. Investment in the fabric of our schools in Marown and Braddan continues with the Marown extension now being completed. Additional permanent classrooms are to be provided at Braddan School and the potential to extend the boundaries of the current site has to be investigated.
The primary school population is forecast to grow and the Department of Education proposal within the emerging Braddan Plan to provide an additional primary school in the Parish is welcomed and will, in addition to providing additional modern facilities nearer to the population, also allow the Youth and Community service to provide additional facilities for our Young outside of the normal school hours. If elected I will support substantial additional educational investment in:
Information and Communication Technology throughout the Islandís Schools.
Early resolution of the Teaching Staff Survey findings.
Delegated Financial Management of our school budgets so ensuring best local use of available funds.
Youth and Community Services by the provision of facilities throughout all Island Schools.
MHKs elected throughout the Island are collectively responsible for managing annually in excess of £500 million of taxpayer money. In discussion with certain MHKís I gain the impression that they have lost sight of this very important fact. Many people will have views on if the annual budget is correctly allocated and represents "Value for Money". If elected, I would endeavour to ensure that it is always spent prudently, with the intent of improving the services we provide for you.
The Government Budget for the current year states that the various Departments, who individually are charged to provide the services we, the people, require, will spend in excess of £539 million during this current year. We all live to "our personal budget" and prioritise our spending accordingly. Government spending of our taxpayerís money must also be prioritised and should only be expended when "value for money" is assured. I have many years of commercial sector experience of creating and controlling multi-million £ budgets and whilst we are fortunate in Government to have many experienced and committed civil servants who are charged with financial reporting tasks, I am aware that the political decisions made by members, who may not be fully aware of the financial implications of their deliberations, does lead to Departmental budgets being excessive or wrongly prioritised. Many of the schemes are necessary and correctly prioritised but MHKs elected to this new Government Administration will have to manage the spending decisions of their predecessors and must have the ability to consider very carefully any request for further capital commitments which will again impact on our accounts in the years to come.
Elected members have the greatest opportunity to influence any spending decisions in the Department in which they are asked to serve by the Chief Minister. The ministerial system places the responsibility for Departmental spending directly with the Departmentís Minister and it has to be hoped that those in such positions are capable and prepared to accept the reasoned arguments of elected colleagues and officers who are appointed to assist them in the decision making process. Approvals subsequently required from the Treasury and Tynwald Court do give an opportunity for members outside the Department to influence the decisions, but it is at Departmental level that your elected MHK will have most impact on Government spending and the timing of such spend. I have the knowledge and experience to assess value and to control spending. If elected I will work hard to achieve this necessary aim by:
Ensuring whenever possible that spending is prioritised according to need and availability of income.
All Government spending represents Value for Money.
GOVERNMENT REVENUE AND NATIONAL INCOME
For the current year income is estimated at £379 million and, after allowing for spending on the provision of public services, will provide a budgeted surplus of £22 million. The elected members must protect this revenue stream by taking advantage of the many opportunities for growth that are emerging globally. The Finance sector now accounts for 42% of Manx sourced income and the incoming elected members must carefully manage and sympathetically regulate this core of our economy. Changes in the global market need to be continually investigated to ensure that we maintain this income, either by diversification or by keeping our Island industries competitive.
I fully support the Government initiative, which has, for example, in the last two years invested £19.5m to develop the emerging E-Commerce sector with a view to the Island becoming one of the most advanced E-Societies globally. Networks such as the Internet are breaking down barriers and changing lifestyles, whilst at the same time creating a world where business, governments and individuals are joined as never before. I support investment in sectors such as these, as our small society needs to continue, as it has done in the past, to grasp the emerging opportunities as they develop. One such opportunity, with which I have been involved through my membership of the Isle of Man Post Office, is E-Habitant, which will enable Isle of Man users to access secure services through the internet electronically rather than by more traditional methods.
At the same time Government needs to invest heavily in local commerce to provide rewarding employment opportunities outside the Finance sector. Manufacturing, Construction, Tourism and Agriculture provide substantial employment opportunities to those who do not wish to enter the Finance industry and its support services. I believe that in all sectors, employee training should be further encouraged by Government, the various Departments of Government working together to provide the facilities for all employers and their staff.
High quality training brings greater employee job satisfaction and whilst it is Governmentís function to assist external employers, it must also make sure that its own staff receive high quality training so ensuring that those who serve the community are in step with best practice and development.
Departments, in setting their annual budgets, need to continually strive to improve all social and community services in line with current need, particularly those of the Islandís youth and the less well off members of our society. The Departments need to decide on the priorities of which services they are able to provide within the constraints of their budget. They should not continue to provide services that are less important than new services that they are unable to introduce on the excuse that funding is not available. If elected I will continue to support Government policies which:
Encourage further diversification of our income streams.
Seek out and develop the emerging technologies within the E-commerce sector.
Promote the re-enablement of all employees by providing additional Government Sponsored Training courses.
Continually strive to review and deliver improved services to our community.
GOVERNMENT STAFF AND TRAINING
I support the employment within Government of the "right people for the right job" to ensure that we provide and promote successful services to our community.
Government should actively promote demanding, interesting and beneficial training courses for its staff and MHKs, as this will improve the services that are required by you all. Government employees should also be encouraged to take full advantage of the technological changes that are facing our world by interfacing with other providers of Public Services throughout the world, either in person or via the Internet, which is now widely available throughout Government. If elected I would promote:
Greater commitment to the training of all Government Personnel.
HEAD CAPPING WITHIN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS
Head capping of Departments is at present one of Governmentís main control policies. In my opinion is a weak control and is frequently used as an excuse by existing politicians not to provide us with the level of service that we require.
Head capping does not control costs as frequently additional personnel are then employed "on contract" at higher cost. Government employ many professional civil servants who are responsible for managing and controlling their Departmentís expenditure to ensure that they do not exceed their approved budget. Professionally managing Departments would place greater responsibility on both the Chief Executive and the political members to ensure that they correctly "manage" the resources available to them and would ensure that political members were fully aware of the abilities of their Department to provide the promised "service" to the community. If elected I would promote the:
Replacement of the current head capping system with direct Departmental budget responsibility.
Acceptance of financial accountability by Chief Executives and their Political Members.
The new Hospital at Ballamona is currently under construction and when completed I am sure will provide a facility of which we will all be proud. Governmentís management of the construction project has correctly, in my opinion, been questioned. When the results of the current investigation are known, Tynwald should ensure proper controls are put in place to avoid a repeat of this accusation in relation to future large capital schemes.
The cost of providing Health Care is projected to increase in future years at levels that will exceed inflation and whilst Government must in my opinion continue to provide the highest standards of health care for all, they should encourage those who support the system, by taking out additional medical health care insurance, by granting tax allowances for any such scheme contributions.
It is acknowledged that there is an ongoing need for training of all Health Service personnel. Our links with the UK Health Services should involve more staff attending other specialist health providers clinics in the UK to ensure they are continually building their knowledge of the emerging health practices which would then benefit us all as patients.
The provision of medical care in the constituency must be enhanced by the provision of medical practices in our community. There is a shortage of Dentists on the Island and many of the existing dentists are switching to only providing Private Practice Services, so severely weakening the provision of dental services to us all, normally provided by Government to the community. The reasons for this shortage needs to be urgently addressed, so that the high quality state provided services are re-instated. If elected I will support continual improvement of this service to the community and in addition would promote:
Training of student nurses and of all other personnel throughout the medical structure.
Tax allowances for Private Medical Health Care scheme premiums.
Provision of additional Doctors and Dental Services in the constituency.
HOUSING NEED IS CURRENTLY SEVERE
Housing is needed at all levels of the community from 1st time buyer, local authority, apartments for our young available either for rent or purchase and general housing from 2nd time buyer through to luxurious parkland developments.
I have experienced the despair of this "need" during the last four years as a member of a Local Housing Authority and the very dire circumstances in which some of our people find themselves in has to be urgently addressed by Central Government providing a mixture of solutions including the provision of more local authority housing by prioritising access to 1st and 2nd time buyer opportunities. I believe it is a direct responsibility of Government to provide sufficient and affordable housing in the right locations to meet the communityís needs and I will promote this simple principle at every given opportunity. If elected I would:
Encourage the early release of land for housing particularly for our young.
HOUSING DEMAND MAY DECLINE
Demand for housing is currently across all sectors, but this need may decline if future employment practices, particularly in the Finance Industry, change. Some businesses may relocate their back office facilities to lower cost employment centres whilst others could easily introduce home tele-working so stabilising the need for additional local employees. Possible changes of this type again emphasise the Government need for robust population data, so that they can ensure the phased release of development land and that the associated infrastructure is correctly managed.
There are also opportunities for Government to encourage, in the medium to long term, the location of the Islandís population, either by direct tax incentives or by conditioning the substantial loans and grants that are provided to commerce by the Treasury and Department of Trade and Industry so encouraging employers to locate in centres other than Douglas and its surrounding area.
Government are currently estimating that in the region of 400 houses a year are required to be built and that of that total at least 20% are needed in the 1st time buyers category with a further 20% in the Local Authority sector. In the short term, I support the zoning of land for this amount of development providing Government approach the release of the land, so zoned, in relation to the emerging area population projections. This sequential approach to the release of land requires Departments of Government to work closely together to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is developed to support the additional load created by the new housing. If elected I would promote:
Heavyweight Government investment Local Authority and 1st time buyer Housing across the boundaries of Braddan and Marown.
The phased release of development land based on area population statistics.
Long term Tax and Grant policies that encourage employers to locate and revitalise centres other than in and around Douglas.
HOUSING PURCHASE SUPPORT IS REQUIRED
House prices have been inflated by the availability of money at low rates of interest and in addition by the employment opportunities created by attractive taxation strategies which have encouraged more immigration in recent years, therefore changing the delicate balance of supply and demand. I support the current Government housing initiatives, but would look for urgent additional Government support to be directed towards helping all within our community to purchase affordable housing. This 1st or 2nd time buying opportunity is, at current island prices, a step too far for many, who whilst saving have to pay rents in what is also a very competitive and expensive market. The Government sponsored Harcroft 1st time buyer housing scheme provided the land to the purchaser and further similar funded schemes are now urgently required. Approval has been given to a mixed affordable housing development at Cronk Grianagh, where Government will again sponsor the cost of land, but in addition a more flexible scheme is required to be implemented that would allow prospective purchasers to buy in the open market at locations where they, as individuals, want to live.
I require the introduction of a House purchase scheme in which the Government would secure say 50% of the purchase price of approved properties, so leaving the purchaser to obtain a mortgage for the remaining 50%, the resulting mortgage repayments being more in line with the earnings of the applicant. The scheme would need to include options for the applicant to buy out the Government share of equity as their earnings ability changed. A scheme of this nature should be available to residentially qualified individuals or couples moving from the family home, privately rented or local authority housing and to those who have moved off the Island to study or work and require to return to their homeland.
The Isle of Man is falling further behind the UK in the provision of new Local authority housing which in the UK is around 20% of all housing. DLGEís existing Local Authority Housing Scheme Plans have in my opinion to be accelerated to match and surpass the example set by the UK so again helping those in need of this central support, be they be young adults looking for their first "home from home" or the elder members of our community who need this interim support prior to purchasing their own home, the ultimate aim of the majority of this society. If elected I would promote:
Enhanced Government House Purchase Schemes for those who are residentially qualified.
Additional Government sponsored 1st time buyer schemes with shared equity.
Substantial increases in the availability of Local Authority Housing for all adults in our community.
I am fully in favour of Local Authorities providing services for the community in which we all live and enjoy. These facilities can be as diverse as playgrounds within housing developments, community meeting rooms and the provision of sports facilities over and above those provided by Government. A good example is the purchase of land by Braddan Commissioners who have facilitated an agreement between Government and Union Mills Football Club to relocate their sports fields and clubhouse on the basis of the DHSS providing the new facilities at no cost to the club. This form of planning gain has to be encouraged, providing the gain to the community is substantial and can be clearly defined as a benefit. Additionally, as part of this package, land has also been purchased for our future community use at Strang crossroads, which will be used for a Village Green incorporating the likes of bowling, cricket, tennis and other sports facilities so ensuring this area of green space is protected for generations to come. If elected:
I would encourage Local Authorities to provide for the reasonable needs of their communities
LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM
This is long overdue, as there are many in-effective Local Authorities that do not have sufficient income to provide and deliver the level of service for the needs of our community. Reform has been on the Tynwald Agenda since 1985 and following a final public consultation exercise should be introduced early in the new House, with a view to halving the current number of Authorities. The principle of this review has in my opinion to be "Rural to Rural" leaving the large towns and villages independent.
In relation to Braddan and Marown I believe that these two Authorities should enter into early discussion with their neighbours, Onchan, Santon, Patrick and German with a view to debating the issues that arise with the people of their Parish so bringing the discussion on the necessary Reform to an early conclusion. If elected I would encourage:
Discussion between Local Authorities with a view to finding an acceptable way forward.
The creation of Local Authorities of sufficient size to provide housing and other necessary services to their community.
The Ministerial system of Government is in theory good, but the present system does not appear to work as effectively as an efficient Private Sector Board would be reasonably expected to do. There are issues
of confidentiality and collective responsibility, which appear on occasions to be abused by the membership of the current Council and change must be implemented to ensure that the future management of the Council is more in line with good commercial governance standards. There are also clear indications that Departments of Government are not operating in unison and this is a failing of the current Council of Ministers whose function must be to ensure that Departments openly work closely together.
I do not believe that membership of the Council of Ministers precludes MHKs or MLCs from actively supporting their electorate and in many cases see this as a benefit to introducing change into their constituency. If elected:
I would promote cross-departmental accountability within the Council of Ministers.
PLANNING DEVELOPMENT POLICIES
Development land is required with recent Government projections estimating that 3,500 houses will be needed over the next 10 years. Whilst the need for this quantity of houses cannot be disputed at this time, the location of this housing requires very careful consideration. The limited availability of zoned development land is a major issue, which has inflated prices. If land is zoned for the future, its development and its release must be phased and controlled by Government Planners, who require robust powers to ensure that design briefs are imposed on landowners which maximise the utilisation of the land in the best interests of the whole community.
The current Government has been slow to drive the review of Local Development Plans which zone land for development and they have not maximised the "brown field" opportunities for previously developed land within our towns and villages which must be brought into use in preference to allowing extensive greenfield development. If elected, I would promote:
The sequential and phased release of development land in line with population requirements
The re-use of brown field sites.
The introduction and implementation of more robust Planning solutions.
Middle is a rural constituency and it is vital that its rural needs and those of the rest of our Island are provided and protected through robust Planning Policies, which then need to be enforced by the Planning Department of Government. I would promote the introduction of such Policies as soon as possible, so that there is proper control of future development. Planning Policies and Regulations must ensure the efficient use of land and should, for example, include neighbouring property holders being formally advised of planning applications being made by adjoining landowners, rather than leaving to chance that the affected party will notice the application in the local press.
The Issue of where to provide development land is complex and this is addressed through the Island Development Plans, Local Area Plans and the new All Island Strategic Plan all of which are currently under review. It is vital that these plans are progressed speedily to identify the quantity of land required for key land uses such as housing, employment and other necessary facilities. Whilst I agree with the span of these plans being for ten years, to allow for the planning of proper supporting infrastructure, I do believe that Government should provide sufficient qualified staff to allow all the Plans to be reviewed every five years so ensuring that we are planning for the future in a constructive manner. If elected I would encourage:
The introduction of robust and enforceable Planning Policies and Regulations.
A more timely review of Local Area Plans to ensure they reflect and meet the needs of the community.
Reviews being completed speedily to maintain interest in the Public Consultation process.
The All Island Strategic Plan has been issued in Draft form and will be considered at a Public Inquiry early next year. In my opinion it lacks a clear strategy for the even distribution of development and risks missing the opportunity to plan strategically for the Islandís development needs over the next decade. Based on current Treasury population projections and on a decrease in average household size, the All Island Strategic Plan projects that there will be a requirement for 3,500 additional dwellings to be provided over the next ten years. The Plan is deficient in that it does not define the number of houses required in each of the Local Plan Areas and therefore provides no strategic framework on which Local Area Plans can then be created. This serious deficiency needs to be urgently addressed in the next issue of the Plan, which will be subject to the Public Inquiry process, so that Local Area Plans can truly reflect the needs of their area.
Government must take a sequential approach to seeking locations for housing development, with preference being given to previously developed sites within existing towns and villages, followed by other sites within town and villages, followed then by sustainable urban extensions to those towns and villages. They would then be addressing the problem of need in a logical manner and would protect our treasured environment. The current Draft Plan does define some strong planning policies for the future and must in my opinion incorporate Planning Department powers to enforce proper design briefs on the developers before they start developing green field sites - if for example, it is agreed that a developer will incorporate a shop and playground into a development, then planning procedures must ensure that the developer, having made the promise to the community, provides the facility at an economical cost to subsequent operator. The Draft Plan also proposes requirements for minimums of Open Space within new developments and in addition suggests that the infrastructure requirement of a new development site should be funded by the developer and not by the various Government Statutory Authorities. If elected I would promote:
Clear definition of the housing requirement for each Local Plan Area.
Enforceable Design briefs agreed with developers that provide for the mixed needs of the community.
Braddan and Marown Local Plans are under consideration. The Braddan Local Area Plan, now 10 years out of date, review started in 1999 and it is expected that the Draft Braddan Plan will be issued early in the New Year for submission to a Public Inquiry. In September 2001, the Council of Ministerís decision to include the location of the Prison in the emerging Braddan Plan has distorted and will delay the issue of the Plan. The new Government must work to remove this un-necessary feature, which has to be correctly considered as a separate application, so eliminating the delay.
It is anticipated that the Marown Area Plan will begin its consultation process during 2003, but this date has not yet been fixed by DLGEís Planning Department. Both Parishes are under significant pressure to develop. The Braddan Plan problems of expansion apply equally in both areas. The sequential approach to development mentioned in the Strategic Plan has generally been incorporated into the Braddan Draft Plan and whilst the All Island Strategic Plan does not detail the need for the Parish, a major shortcoming of that plan, DLGE have calculated, in the first draft of the Plan, in conjunction with the Treasury and others, that land is required to be provided over the next 10 years for around 800 houses and additional land is also required for employment, health and educational use. The suggested housing locations vary from small infill developments to other areas of a substantial nature, which require very stringent design briefs to be defined by the Planners to ensure the subsequent developments, are sympathetic to the surrounding environment, do not merge the existing settlements and are phased into the community over the ten year life of the Plan, according to need, so protecting the vitally important well-being and community spirit of these cherished areas.
I believe that Middle should provide a significant contribution to the housing needs of the Island across all social sectors but do not support all of the development proposals, for example the proposed use of the 4 fields of Camlork Farm which run parallel with the Strang Road. The Development of the land in the centre of Union Mills Village on the Old Marown Engineering site has to be allocated for additional community housing for our elderly, who have a right to live conveniently in the centre of a strong village neighbourhood. There should be similar developments within the Crosby and Glen Vine areas.
There should be appropriate allocations of land for employment purposes and whilst I support the land uses within the existing Business and Industrial Parks, I will strongly promote the re-allocation of land for use as industrial business starter units, as if we do not provide this type of facility within the local area plans, employment levels in sectors outside of the Finance industry will fall. Within the next 5 to 10 years it is forecast that there will be a need for an additional school within the area and whilst the location has not yet been defined by the Department of Education the location should be in the centre of the population to avoid the congestion problems associated with current roadside schools. If elected I would promote:
Development that minimises environmental harm and provides housing and employment opportunities.
Sequential development that maximises land use and community spirit.
Stringent land use design briefs that satisfy community need rather than developer aspirations.
Additional housing for our elderly within the centre of established communities.
School locations that are close to the population and avoid safety and congestion issues.
POLICE AND FIRE SERVICES
The Police and Fire Services are vitally necessary community services that are taken for granted until we find ourselves personally in need of the professional skills provided by these committed Officers. It is a Government responsibility to ensure that these services expand in line with the growth of the population and whilst there have been additional resources dedicated to the serious problems of drug, alcohol and financial crime, Government needs to ensure that manning levels are sufficient to provide the services we all require.
Policing issues frequently come to the fore and whilst the public have an expectation for more "Officers" to be seen on the "Streets" it has to be acknowledged that social changes do considerably reduce the available resources which otherwise are operationally very committed to the tasks of policing our relatively crime free Island. Policies to increase parental responsibility should be introduced by the appropriate authority in tandem with educational campaigns across all society.
I fully support the Chief Constableís commitment to "Community Policing" and believe that there is a need for a community police house/station in the constituency. Both Local Authorities should continue the debate with the Department of Home Affairs on this facility which would considerably strengthen community Policing and increase police visibility within the area.
The demands on the Islands Fire Service are also changing and again Government needs to assist the management of this service to ensure that their workforce and facilities are maintained to a level that enables them to continue to provide the rapid response times that we quite rightly demand. If elected, I would promote:
The management of the Police and Fire Services in a more commercial manner, releasing them from the constraints of the Governments "Head capping" scheme, and allowing them to provide a defined service within an approved budget based on community need.
Prison Facilities are a necessary part of our social structure. I have visited the existing Prison, in my capacity as a Commissioner. I accept that the existing conditions are unacceptable and that the outdated building demands immediate replacement particularly when compared to other modern prisons that I have subsequently inspected.
I have been advised by two of the UKíS largest Planning Practices, independent of Government, that the proposed Ballafletcher site is not the best site on the Island for the Prison and the detail of that advice has been forwarded to the Home Affairs Department. The visual impact of the proposed Prison on the elevated Ballafletcher site will be dramatic and will be viewed from all points of the compass. Development of this site will remove the necessary "green lung" to the already extensive hospital development and will materially contribute to the coalescence of the settlements in Tromode, Cronkbourne, Braddan Hills and the Strang, to the detriment of their separate identities. The placement of the Prison on the Ballafletcher Site will land-lock the future development of the new Hospital, the same mistake that was made on the old Nobles site, which has now led to the relocation of the hospital facilities. The Ballafletcher site has to be reserved for the future long term development requirements of the new Hospital and in the meantime the Ballafletcher site should be used for much needed community Sports fields.
I am appalled by the time and resources wasted by the Department of Home Affairs in bringing this matter to a conclusion, bearing in mind the scheme was announced almost three years ago, a site could have been selected through a well-managed planning public consultation period of no more than twelve months. There is a need for proper prison facilities to ensure, those in our community who need this care, are eventually returned to society, reformed following proper rehabilitation programme's. In addition there should be a review of Court penal policies to ensure that those who sentence use a range of penalties, which include prison as one of many options. If elected I would promote:
The land at Ballafletcher being kept as a green lung for the expanding Hospital Development.
A new prison being located at the best available site on the Island as soon as possible.
A separate Public Inquiry for the new Prison site being held within 6 months.
QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL
"Quality of Life for All" should be incorporated into all future Government policies. We should ensure that our population does not by virtue of its structure, size or rate of growth prejudice our "Quality of Life and we should preserve, protect and improve the quality of our environment through the pursuit of sustainable development.
Our economic growth has allowed the creation of an economic and social environment that has much to offer. We need, for example, to continue to promote housing that is appropriate to the needs of our community, to promote a greater awareness of healthy living and to actively encourage rural communities. We can already see our environment improving, we have pride in our schools and our hospital facilities, but all these, and the many other Government funded services need to be further improved to ensure that the benefits of our prosperous society are enjoyed by all. If elected I would:
Look to enhance and protect this Islandís "Quality of Life".
The consideration and approval of Legislation is a major function of MHKs who should be in close contact with their community to ensure such legislation is needed and is fair and equitable. All matters for consideration by Tynwald Court require proper and thorough examination and meticulous preparation needs to be undertaken by all MHKs before and during the drafting of new legislation to ensure it is good law for the people of this Island. If elected:
I would meticulously consider new legislation to ensure it is good for the needs of this Island community.
Government needs to introduce strong policies and regulations to control the development of our Island. To do so they need up to date information on which to base these policies, as without well-researched information gained from data collection, they will be unable to support the case for or against their introduction. We currently establish the size of our population every five years by census and in the interim rely on the population projection statistics provided by the Department of Economic Affairs who already provide Government with well-researched data on which informed decisions can be made.
The population at the last census was 76,315, which was broadly in line with the projections and demonstrates that Government do have access to reasonably accurate data in this area. I would support further investment in technology to gather information on population movements rather than the introduction of the Residency Act which risks sending a negative message to potential investors in our Island, so switching the growth we currently enjoy into a downward spiral which would be difficult to reverse. The enhanced information gathered by the Department of Economic Affairs would allow Government to make informed decisions on the population changes so enabling proper planning of the necessary infrastructure services that are vital to a well regulated community and should future "data indicators" point to excessive growth or decline, the necessary controls or incentives can be instigated. If elected I would:
Support further investment in measurement technology to provide robust population data.
Not support the introduction of the Residency Act unless there were severe indicators to warrant such action.
Home Care services have been significantly improved in recent times and the development of associated services, such as "Meals on Wheels", should continue to be supported by Government, so maintaining the independence of those who appreciate the service. Carers are now beginning to be properly supported by the Department and the range of services available to this very committed part of the family unit should continue to be expanded either through partnership arrangements with local charities or by the provision of additional trained support personnel. If elected I would promote:
Home Care Services that support the "independence" of the older members of our community.
Government provides a comprehensive range of benefits that are constantly under review. These reviews must continue to ensure that they are effective in meeting the genuine need of our society. Our elderly currently receive superior benefits to those enjoyed by the counterparts in the UK, but heating allowances, which are automatically paid to all pensioners in the UK, are only paid to a limited number on the Island. Heating of elderly persons homes is vital to their well-being and to encourage pensioners to use their heating systems, the heating allowance should be paid to all Island pensioners. If elected I would encourage:
A comprehensive range of benefits in line with the needs of our community.
The continual improvement of pension benefits for our elderly.
The payment of the Home Heating Allowance to all pensioners irrespective of means.
SERVICE INDUSTRIES - ELECTRICITY, WATER AND SEWAGE
We are fortunate in that both the Water and Electricity supply services are being upgraded throughout the Island, with major capital investment, which could not have contemplated ten years ago. The new IRIS sewage system, another major upgrade of our infrastructure, was necessary and when in full operation will provide one of the cleanest coastal environments in Europe.
I am very concerned to be advised by a large number of residents in the Glen Vine Area that they are suffering from varying qualities of water supply. These consumers have valid complaints and the Water Authority has assured me that these problems will be resolved during the infrastructure upgrading schemes, which include new treatment works that will be completed by 2004/5. If elected I would promote the introduction of:
Infrastructure Services in line with the growing needs of the community.
Energy from renewable sources such as Wind power generation.
Energy cost reviews that encourage further reductions in charges to the community.
SURGERIES TO LISTEN TO AND ASSIST THE COMMUNITY
I intend to hold regular surgeries to meet, listen and discuss with the people of this constituency their interests and concerns. In holding these regular surgeries, hopefully rotating the location between the Offices of Braddan and Marown Commissioners, I would still expect people to contact me at home on matters that require my urgent attention. I strongly believe that one of the key responsibilities of an MHK is to facilitate the flow of information between the Government and its people and a surgery is just one of the many ways of achieving this necessary communication link. If elected I intend to:
Hold regular surgeries alternatively at Braddan and Marown.
TRADE AND INDUSTRY
This is one of the most important Departments of Government in that it provides the Government Investment into all other sectors of commerce that are not driven by the Finance sector. Diversification of our income streams is vital to the development of this Island. It is very important that this Department has sufficient funds to invest in the Islandís businesses and promotes tax incentives and development opportunities, which will stabilise employment. This will encourage employers to pay above average rates to their employees who are all working to generate the income Government requires to provide for future social services and investment in our infrastructure. It has to be acknowledged that the costs of transport to and from the Island make it difficult for some Industries, but it is for the Department of Trade and Industry to create the right environment for companies to flourish by expanding the range of high added value commercial opportunities on our Island.
Employment legislation must be kept in step with good practice to ensure that all employees are properly protected with well-documented standards of employment. The minimum wage legislation is now in place and whilst the suggestion is that it should be set at the UK level of £4.10 I believe that majority of our society require this to be increased to at least £5.00 per hour, which by average wage standards within the Island is still conservative.
I support this Departmentís efforts to ensure that everyone on the Island has the opportunity to gain access to the Internet and new sources of knowledge it offers to our community. I have been pleased to be associated with the Post Office decision to provide access to its services through the emerging E-Habitant site and via the Internet in all its Post Offices as this spreads the availability of this emerging technology to all sectors of our community. If elected I would promote:
Investment in Local Industry to create employment opportunities to diversify our economy.
Strong employment legislation to ensure fair treatment of all employees.
E-enablement of all within our community.
TOURISM, LEISURE AND TRANSPORT
Our Tourist Industry is comprised mainly of small business units that do require the support and coordination of the Department of Tourism. The quality of our environment plays a vital role in Tourism and the actions of the Agricultural Industry in caring for our countryside creates the prime reason for many people to visit our Island. The Tourist Industryís share of the Islandís Income is growing and must continue to be encouraged. In recent months the impact of the UK Foot and Mouth crisis has severely affected both the Farming and Tourist Industries and both have to work in partnership with Government to recoup their losses and to maximise the use of this Islandís natural resource.
The recent Tourism Department initiatives to encourage the use of the emerging technologies offers new and easy communication with potential customers and also, with links to and from the Departments Internet site, offers high quality exposure to many hotels.
The National Sports Centre is a credit to this Island and the ongoing promotion of the associated healthy lifestyle for our society has to be encouraged and should be expanded by the provision of additional high quality sport facilities on the Ballafletcher Road proposed prison site so providing the required additional Sports Facilities for the Youth of this Island. The Department is continually improving Road and Rail services, but additional care needs to be taken to ensure that the serviced routes not only satisfy local need but also are sufficient to meet the demand of all sectors of the community from the student to senior citizen. If elected I would promote:
Development of the Tourist Industry as a major employer outside the Finance Industry.
Further acknowledgment of the importance of Agriculture to Tourism.
The provision of further high quality Sports Facilities for the Youth of our Island.
Provision of bus and rail services to meet community need and demand.
It is important that the Department of Transport promote and action schemes of Road Improvement that are seen by the population as being required as a necessity. It is essential, that in attempting to improve highway safety standards, that every effort is made to minimise the effect this has on the local community and the environment in terms of reducing as far as possible the loss of trees and vegetation of amenity value. The improvements to the Old Castletown Road will be successfully completed in tandem with the installation of the IRIS ground works and when this road scheme is completed, it will significantly improve safety and accommodate increased traffic flows. The realignment of the Braddan Road has provided a proper access to the new Hospital and a bypass route around central Douglas.
The current Vicarage Road scheme, by comparison, does not provide such benefit and appears excessive in scale and will have a negative long-term effect on the surrounding environment. I believe that the Vicarage Road Scheme is premature, in that the design solutions to remove the severe congestion at Saddle Road, Peel Road, Braddan Bridge and Quarterbridge have yet to be designed and released for public consultation. Surely a prudent Department would have designed the whole scheme, to convince the people, that the proper and necessary traffic flows were being created before going into the detail of such an expensive solution which may, at the end of the day, be over specified in the final format. I acknowledge that Vicarage Road does need some improvements for the safety of road users and pedestrians but I am unable to support the expenditure of nearly £4 million on the grounds of value for money and in addition have serious concerns as to the detrimental impact of the proposed scheme on the surrounding environment.
Concern has also been expressed at the traffic calming attempts that have been made in the majority of the Islandís residential areas by the provision of speed bumps and whilst these remind motorists when entering these residential areas of the need to reduce speed, DOT do need to further educate the motorists of the dangers of speeding. Traffic flows through our villages on the main Peel Road commuter route also travels in excess of the permitted speed limits and whilst our Police are already fully committed, additional methods of enforcement, for example speed cameras, are required to reduce this growing accident danger.
This constituency supports the only link to the inside of the TT Course and during periods of road closures, the area surrounding this link is continually congested. Measures to ease traffic flows need to be urgently considered by the Department. In the short term a Spring Valley/Groves Road One Way system could be one such solution, in the longer term, the Department needs to bring forward measures to create an alternative access into the inside of the Course on the Onchan side of Douglas, so spreading the traffic flow across the Capital to amongst other things, our new Hospital. If elected I would promote:
Highway improvements being prioritised to bring immediate benefit to the community. The use of speed cameras to improve road safety for all pedestrian and road users.
The early introduction of a scheme to reduce traffic congestion at Quarterbridge.
An additional link into the centre of the TT Course.
WASTE MANAGEMENT AND OUR ENVIRONMENt
The protection of our Islandís Environment is the responsibility of the Department of Local Government and the Environment (DLGE) who need to become more pro-active in protecting our Island from abuse. Waste disposal is an issue, which has been partially addressed by the decision to build the Incinerator at Richmond Hill in the Parish of Braddan. We have been assured by the Islandís Director of Health and others that Health scares in relation to this new incineration plant are unfounded providing Government comply with the stringent emission conditions agreed with Braddan Commissioners in 1998. It will be for the new members of the House of Keys to ensure the plant does not constitute a health risk to us all and that it is professionally maintained and operated to the highest standards. MHKs must maximise the use of the UK Environmental Agency who are contracted to monitor the operation of the plant and must actively review their reports so that they can assure the community of the plantís safety.
The Waste Management Plan, issued by the Department in 2000, details waste policies aimed at Reducing, Reusing, Recycling, and finally Recovering energy from waste that cannot be reused by way of incineration. Again it is for those who are elected to this Government to ensure commitment to these very necessary policies.
Finally, we are lucky in that our Island airs are not polluted like many parts of the British Isles, but we do need to ensure that all possible steps are taken to maintain and improve its quality. The Department of the Environment has to consider Clean Air Legislation and whilst its introduction will incur cost, the health of the Islandís population is paramount. I would also support legislation bringing in stricter controls on all forms of pollution, as these would be of environmental benefit, not just on the Island but globally. If elected I would strongly promote:
Continual review of the Health Standards that control the Waste Incineration Plant.
Policies that encourage us all to care for our environment.
Introduction of Legislation to improve and control air quality.
WHO IS ALLEN JOHN GAWNE
He is 54 years of age, was born on the Island, and during his career in the private sector gained 35 years of solid commercial experience by working for several local companies. He was a Director of Heron and Brearley, one the Islandís major employers, for over 10 years, and prior to his retirement, 5 years ago, held the position of Managing Director.
In January 1997 the Isle of Man Government appointed him to the Board of the Isle of Man Post Office and as a Trustee of the Post Office Staff Pension fund. In September 1997 he was elected to the Board of Braddan Parish Commissioners and has served three terms of office as their Chairman, having been elected to this position by his fellow board colleagues, resigning from the Board on the 29th October 2001, to enable him devote time to his election campaign. He has recently accepted the position of Community Governor of Braddan Primary School, is a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, Trustee of the Port Soderick Recreational Hall, Secretary to the Douglas High School Old Boys Association and has held the position of Council member and County Treasurer for St John Ambulance for several years, in addition to supporting other local charities.
His wife Joyce and two children, now both married, have lived in the constituency of Middle over a period spanning nearly 30 years, starting at Glen Vine Park in Marown to their current home at Port Soderick in Braddan. He is therefore fully aware of the constituency relationships between Braddan and Marown and itís surrounding neighbours.
With over 35 years successful experience in the commercial sector, and with the knowledge gained over the last five years with the Isle of Man Post Office and Braddan Commissioners, he has gained a substantial insight into the workings of the Isle of Man Government, which functions in a totally different maimer to the commercial private sector. In his capacity as a Commissioner, he has served on committees including the "Richmond Hill Incinerator Consultative Committee", the "Baldwin Animal By-products Plant Committee" and the "Island Housing Committee". On behalf of the Commissioners he has attended public inquiries, has obtained experience on planning matters, and has enjoyed his active role in the community.
He is truly independent and does not have any connection or obligation to any group, organisation or corporate body. Should he be elected, he will further develop skills, which will assist him in caring for the needs of our local community and our Island in its very privileged position as an "Independent Nation".
WHY SHOULD YOU VOTE FOR ALLEN J. GAWNE
If elected I will:
I invite voters to contact me should they have any queries regarding my manifesto, the voting system or if they require an absent postal vote by telephoning 624869.
Should anyone transport to the Polling Station please telephone
624869 - Keristal House, Port Soderick
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Published by Allen J. Gawne, Keristal House, Port Soderick, Braddan, Isle of Man
Printed via the IoM Elections Website. www.iomelections.com
REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT 1995