State Sponsored Vandalism
It is with a mixture of deep sorrow and White
Hot Fury that I bring you pictures of what the
Department of Transport, Harbours Division, did
to the Queen's Pier in March. Not content with
failing to honour the Island's Planning Laws
since the Pier was placed on the Register on
27th January 1995 they are continuing to show
their total contempt for Registered Building
In 2002 they made a
frustrated attempt to remove parts of the
Structure of Queen's Pier. It failed as they had
"forgotten" to comply with the Planning Process
relating to Registered Buildings. So a correct
Application was filed under Application RB154
(02/02102/GB) in December 2002.
This did not succeed.
they tried again in December 2003 with a revised
Statement of Case. This again was firmly
controlled by the Planning Department and plans
to remove the seaward steps and lengths of
railings were refused. Limited work was carried
It is therefore quite clear
from these earlier attempts that those
responsible for the Pier are well aware of their
obligations to seek Registered Building consent
each and every time they require to carry out
works on the Pier. This was re-inforced by their
evidence to the Select Committee of 2005 and
further confirmed to the Select Committee by
Director of Planning, Ian McCauley.
yet in total contempt of Tynwald and the Chief
Ministers Working Group, chaired by Hon Phillip
Gawne, as well as the wishes of the Manx people
who voted by 81% in favour of Restoration,
Harbours Divison have yet again carried out what
can only be described as an illegal*
and despicable act.
The photographs show that the
majority of the railings along the north side of
the Pier have been callously cut away and
Yes! Scrapped! They even
ripped out the 'insecure bolts' as examination
of the photos will show!
despite the bland assurances that the items
removed would be placed in store for re-use!
These assurances were completely worthless.
Not only that but they never
even made the slightest attempt to comply with
Legislation by seeking prior approval of DoLGE
experts but simply took it upon themselves to
flout the Law. My enquiries of DoLGE have
confirmed that no application has been received.
This is in direct contravention of legislation.
Pressing home our enquiries gleaned the
information that the materials were safely
stored but our requests to inspect these were
turned aside. However The Conservation Officer
at DoLGE was eventually shown certain posts at
Port Erin that were said to be the removed
items. He was NOT told that a
considerable amount of valuable square bar
wrought iron railing had been scrapped as
being of "no material significance!"
On whose authority was
this 'decision' made?
What were his/her
only people in a qualified position to make that
decision are our Planners, yet they were not
even approached or advised! It was only when we
produced irrefutable proof of what had taken
place that Harbours came clean and finally
admitted to the Planning Department the full
extent of what they had done. They plead 'public
safety' when all that was at fault was the split
woodwork where the railings were bolted down.
Instead of a simple timber repair, cutting tools
were used to vandalise the wrought iron.
Harbours have always
attempted to hide behind Tynwald's decision in
1994 to Mothball the structure for a limited
period but their latest act of Vandalism has
shown this to be a total sham! This is not
mothballing, this is demolition by stages.
* They cannot
even hide behind Section 29 of the Act where it
could be a defence to prove the works were
(Ongoing for five years!!)
(b) no other
practical means were available to effect a
repair, (of course
(c) The works were limited to the minimum
necessary as the photos will readily disprove,
(d) They served
Notice justifying their works as soon as
(They have yet to
applications of 2002/3 and statement of case
referred to Enforcement Notices by H&S in
support of the case to remove the siding, rails
and steps. The Enforcement Notice simply said
that they should be secured. Yet Harbours
interpreted this as a case for removal. Their
Application was resisted and ultimately
withdrawn. So now they return and do it anyway
without even paying lip service to the Law!
We have repeatedly warned
DoLGE of the distinct possibility that their
preferred and laudable option of patient
negotiation and cooperation would fail and it
gives us no pleasure to have been proved right.
The Manx Government must act NOW to prevent any
further examples of the Harbours Divisions
cavalier contempt for our Planning Laws
If you feel as strongly as I do, please write
to the Chief Minister and your MHK with your