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Controversy rumbles on down the Lane

Controversy Lane in Pembroke (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

Neighbours of a Government property in Pembroke have been left in the dark over development plans, according to Marcus Jones, an Opposition senator.

Mr Jones raised questions in the Senate on Wednesday over a roadway named for land disputes, where property owners have cried foul after the Government cleared a large area of land.

He said excavations on parkland at Controversy Lane off St John’s Road had overstepped the boundary of the Government’s property.

Owen Darrell, the Junior Minister of Public Works, told the Upper House that the eventual plan was for the road to be relocated.

Mr Darrell added: “Planning permission for the realignment of the road has not yet been sought.”

He described preliminary work at the site as a cleanup after illegal dumping.

Mr Jones said that the digging was encroaching on neighbouring properties and could cut off access for other property owners.

But Mr Darrell said the excavations in the area, at two locations, were confined to government property, part of the national park by Mill Creek.

“It is not public land and it has not cut off access to the residents,” he said.

The road takes its name from property disputes between the Government and private owners. The island’s courts ultimately sided with the families living on Controversy Lane.

Mike Corea, the descendant of one such family, highlighted digging at the government property last month.

He claimed the excavations had intruded onto his property, and that the lane itself was a private road.

Mr Darrell said the land had been surveyed about two weeks ago, acknowledging that there was “currently a debate or dispute with one landowner”.

He acknowledged there was “some dispute as to what is private land and what is government land”.

Asked what consultation had taken place with residents, Mr Darrell said: “Informal engagement and consultation has taken place with the current occupants of Mill Creek Park site, along with the adjoining owners.”

Area residents told The Royal Gazette last month that several squatters had moved onto the overgrown land over the years.

Mr Darrell said there had been a “site meeting” with residents on May 12.

Robin Tucker, the One Bermuda Alliance’s spokeswoman for health in the Senate, also said a tenant on part of the government property had been keeping unlicensed pigs on the land, which had contaminated a neighbouring well.

Arianna Hodgson, the Junior Minister of Health, said no application for a licence to keep pigs at the property had been received.

But she said an investigation would fall under the purview of the Department of Environment and Natural resources.

Ms Hodgson said the health department was “not aware of any complaints pertaining to the keeping of pigs at Controversy Lane at this time”.

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Published July 09, 2021 at 7:53 am (Updated July 09, 2021 at 7:50 am)

Controversy rumbles on down the Lane

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