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Isle of Man to increase 'toilet tax' to £100

Residents on the Isle of Man will see an increase in controversial sewerage charges, known on the island as a "toilet tax".

In April the Manx government decided to bring in a charge of £50 per annum for dealing with sewerage, despite more than 6000 people signing a petition opposing the charge.

Now Tynwald says the charge will increase to £100, after the Manx Utilities Chairman said there would be a shortfall of £10m by 2021.

Counting the cuties - an annual check for Manx seal pups

A seal pup waves. Credit: ITV News

The Calf of Man, an islet off the south west coast of the Isle of Man, is known around the world as a sanctuary for seabirds and for having more lighthouses than people.

It's also home to a sizeable population of Grey Seals and every year, scientists descend on the island to count how many pups they have and monitor their progress.

From the Calf of Man, Amy Mulhern reports:

The Calf of Man viewed from the Isle of Man, is less than one square mile. Credit: ITV News


Plans to relocate horse trams halted

Horse Tram

Plans to relocate one of the Isle of Man's vintage transport systems have been stopped in their tracks as alternative ideas are explored.

The horse trams on Douglas promenade were due to be moved to the edge of the road as part of a multi-million pound scheme.

Engineers have now gone back the drawing board to look at moving the rails onto the seaside walkway instead.

The idea is being welcomed by critics who think the trams are a nuisance to other vehicles.

The new plans are on display this week at the sea terminal where the public can give feedback.

Weather warning on the Isle of Man

Police on the Isle of Man have released a warning to members of the public as poor weather makes for hazardous conditions.

A falling tree down has taken down electrical cables in Main Road, Ballaugh (between Ballaugh & the Wild Life Park). Officers are asking people to avoid the area completely as the road is closed. Police are currently cordoning off the area and there will be no way through for safety reasons.

“Reports are coming in of trees being down island wide. Also, officers out there clearing the roads are reporting that there is considerable leaf debris that is hazardous to road users.Unless you absolutely have to leave your home, please don't. The stormy weather is causing treacherous conditions for all."

– Police spokesperson

Manx voters get started on the Big Debate

The anonymous voting device. Credit: ITV News

The Big Debate has begun in the Isle of Man.

The series of public meetings to discuss the future of government and the welfare system on the island is now under way.

Members of the public who attend meetings will be able to vote on proposals anonymously using remote control devices.

The first meeting has been held in Peel.

Meeting attendees at the first Big Debate meeting. Credit: ITV News

Treasury Minister Eddie Teare MHK said it was a "genuine attempt to find out the views of the public".

Masterplan aims to make Douglas a "world class capital"

An artists impression of the proposed Maritime Gateway. Credit: Iom Government

A public consultation has been launched on a "bold vision" for major redevelopment of Douglas.

The Isle of Man government is asking for feedback on the Central Douglas Masterplan, which aims to encourage investment in the town and boost economic growth.

Government-appointed consultants have drawn up the masterplan.

Officials say the intention is to encourage private sector investment in Douglas and support long term economic regeneration.

Among the aims are:

  • Creating a world-class capital by ensuring development is contemporary, high-quality and timeless.
  • Improving the gateways to Douglas to create attractive arrival points and a positive first impression.
  • Increasing retail opportunities and choice, ensuring new provision complements, rather than undermines, existing retailers.
  • Creating a new civic space that supports flexible uses for events and activities to draw together the town centre.
  • Connecting the key attractions in the town centre by making it easier to navigate between areas.
  • Addressing the local topography, natural environment and buildings – finding and enhancing routes between Upper and Lower Douglas.
An artists impression of how the The Fort will look from Fort Street. Credit: IoM Government.

Chris Robertshaw MHK, Minister for Policy and Reform and Chair of the Central Douglas Masterplan Committee, says the strategy will "underpin efforts to create a world-class Island capital".

"Government cannot deliver this exciting new strategy on its own.

"It will be made real by many hands, including private investors and developers.

"Government has a central role to play in terms of generating the confidence within the private sector to invest in this bold vision.

"The Masterplan is not a blueprint for development and will not be a statutory document.

"It does, however, provide a strategic approach to seeking out and promoting opportunities for development.

"It will also guide decision making and inform future policy.

"Douglas already has much to offer, but there are some critical issues that need to be addressed in a coordinated manner to ensure that it becomes a world-class, distinctive capital.

"This approach will be vital to the continued economic success of the Island."

– Chris Robertshaw MHK
Artists impression of the Quayside and Winter Gardens. Credit: IoM Government.

An exhibition about the masterplan will be held at the Strand Shopping Centre from 2pm on Monday, October 6 until Saturday, October 11 2014.

On Tuesday, October 13, 2014 at 6pm, members of the public can also attend a presentation on the masterplan at the Manx Museum, Douglas.

The consultation runs until Friday, November 14, and anyone wishing to participate can click here.

Artists impression of The Fort. Credit: IoM Government.


Isle of Man girl pens thank you song

A nine year old girl from the Isle of Man has become a hit on the internet with a musical thank you for the hospital staff who treated her in Liverpool. Grace Lee sang "Lean On Me" at a packed shopping centre to help raise money and awareness of the Alder Hey Children's Charity. The video of the event has attracted thousands of viewers. Amy Mulhern has been to meet Grace and her family

Campaign to legalise assisted suicide in Isle of Man

There are calls to re-open the debate on assisted dying in the Isle of Man.

Millie Blenkinsopp from Douglas has petitioned the island's government so she can decide when she dies.

Millie has a condition that means she has had a series of strokes and fears the next one could leave her with no quality of life.

Amy Mulhern reports.

Isle of Man campaign to legalise assisted suicide

A woman on the Isle of Man has launched a campaign to legalise assisted suicide. Millie Blenkinsop lives with a condition that has causes her to suffer a series of mini strokes. The guest house owner from Douglas fears the next one could leave her in an extremely poor state of health.

Millie has petitioned the Manx government to legalise assisted suicide and give her the right to decide when she should die. It's not the first time the issue has been raised on the island - Tynwald parliament investigated assisted dying around ten years ago and decided there was no appetite for change - but because of Millie's petition it will now be looked at again.

If the authorities want to progress with a change in the law, there are of course people that are vehemently opposed to the idea.

Biker killed at Manx Grand Prix

Tim Moorhead. Credit: Manx Motor Cycle Club

The Manx Motor Cycle Club has confirmed that Tim Moorhead, from Whitstable in Kent, was killed during last night's qualifying session for the 2014 Manx Grand Prix.

The incident happened just before the Black Hut, on the Mountain section of the course, at just after 8pm.

Mr Moorhead, 50, made his Manx Grand Prix debut in 2012.

In a statement the Manx Motor Cycle Club said they wished to pass on their deepest sympathy to Tim's family and friends.

The Coroner of Inquests has been informed and an investigation into the circumstances of the accident is underway.

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