‘Night farming’ prompts landowner to build berm on arable land
A landowner has reassured the public that he does not plan to build on arable land after concerns were raised about truckloads of rubble on his field.The Royal Gazette: “It’s actually a berm. It’s about four to five foot [tall]. Topsoil goes on top and foliage on top of that to enhance everything.”
Neil Harris, who owns the plot on Rural Drive, Paget, said he is merely building a berm that will eventually be landscaped. The effort is a bid to stop thieves making off with his vegetables.
“I’m doing a retroactive Planning application for the berm. I didn’t think you needed a permit for it, but apparently you do,” said Mr Harris, who said a lot of the rubble has already been cleared away.
He spoke out after concerns were raised by a member of the public who contacted this newspaper. When further inquiries were made about the situation, Stuart Hayward of the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce said: “We have heard from several people who have looked at this plot of arable land for us.”
He inquired into the issue and spoke with Mr Harris, leaving him satisfied that the rubble is going to be moved to the edge of the field and there is no intention to build on the plot.
“While the owner’s declared intentions were good, the reality is that alteration of land zoned Agricultural Reserve is prohibited by law unless approval is sought and granted by the Development Applications Board,” said Mr Hayward.
Mr Harris told
He explained that 30 or 40 years ago there used to be a dense hedgerow protecting the field, but now it is open land which has been targeted by vegetable thieves.
“Everyone hops over the wall when there are pumpkins there. No one’s going to put vegetables and fruit everywhere without a barrier or a screen. No one’s going to plant anything that’s going to be stolen; night farming is a problem,” he said.
He added that visibility problems with vehicles pulling out onto the hill means no barrier can be erected right at the edge of the plot. The berm will allow him to plant crops closer to the edge without them being visible from the road.
“It will make it look better, quieter and more private and secure,” he said.
Mr Harris, a Bermudian who has owned the field for four years, said he appreciates why public concern was raised over the rubble.
“I can understand that. I’m a regeneration guy and a tree freak. People have said ‘why would you not build on that?’ And I say ‘not in my lifetime’.”