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Trusts lose planning appeal

The Walsingham Trust and the Bermuda National Trust have lost their appeal against the Development Applications Board's decision to allow the erection of gates at either end of their right of way to the Walsingham Reserve.

Both organisations had hoped the Minister of the Environment, Cole Simons, would exercise his discretion in favour of the retention of free and open access to Tom Moore's Jungle.

A joint statement released this afternoon said: “This right of way — the Walsingham Trust's only legal access to the reserve — has been made available to the public for 75 years, since the inception of the Trust in 1942.

“The application to install the gates was made by Bruno Fiocca, who seeks to improve the security of the Walsingham House property, more commonly known as Tom Moore's Tavern.

“The right of way in question crosses Mr Fiocca's property immediately beside the Tavern and has led to unauthorised public parking on his land.”

The Planning Inspector's report on the appeal, which was accepted by Mr Simons, made it clear that the DAB and the planning department could only rule on planning questions, and not on the legal question of what rights the Walsingham Trust had to allow the public to use its right of way.

The Walsingham Trust is reviewing its position with regard to the legal issue.

The statement continues: “Whilst the appellants objected to the erection of gates, we wish to acknowledge his long-term support of access to the reserve and his tolerance of the public use of his land for parking.

“The Walsingham Trust and Mr Fiocca have enjoyed a co-operative and mutually beneficial relationship for many years.

“Mr Fiocca has indicated a willingness to leave these gates open during the day. However, we must emphasise that any decision to allow public parking at this location is entirely at Mr Fiocca's discretion and there is no guarantee that this will be the case in the future, in particular if the Tom Moore's Tavern property changes ownership.”

The Walsingham Trust has encouraged visitors to the reserve to access it via the Blue Hole entrance, where there is parking available. However, the public should be aware that this park is managed by the Parks Department, who ultimately control this access to the Reserve.

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Published February 05, 2017 at 5:23 pm (Updated February 05, 2017 at 5:23 pm)

Trusts lose planning appeal

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