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Warehouse plan designed to stop use of historic building rejected

A wooded verge on the Ocean View Golf Course in Devonshire, which was proposed to be cleared for the construction of a warehouse. (File photograph)

Plans to build a new warehouse to serve the Ocean View Golf Course have been rejected over the location of the project on woodlands reserve.

The project was originally proposed for a site occupied by the existing warehouse, but plans were shifted after it was revealed the warehouse was once an historic home linked to National Hero Mary Prince.

While the location of the warehouse was moved to an area off Barker’s Hill, planning officials said the new location was protected because it was within a woodland reserve.

A planning officer wrote in a report to the Development Applications Board that the planning department was sympathetic to the importance of the project for the golf course but the Bermuda Plan 2018 offered no leeway for the use of woodland reserve for the project.

“For such reasons, while the principle of the application is supported, in principle, it cannot not be recommended for approval to the DAB,” the report writer added.

The report noted that agents for the golf club had called the building an essential element for the running of the club.

The warehouse building would be used to store and maintain golf carts and maintenance equipment.

“It is appreciated that there are limited locations on an active golf course where a warehouse building can feasibly be erected and not interfere with the greens coupled with the desire to have the building screened from the golf course as much as possible,” the report said.

“Placing the proposed warehouse building within the existing band of woodland automatically provides screening on three sides.

“Further, this location is in proximity to the public road, where sight lines meet minimum standards, allowing easy access to the other lot and other portions of the property.

“Finally, the proposed warehouse building is located a significant distance from the historical structure, so as not to affect its setting.”

The report added that the proposal also included a pledge to extend the woodland reserve by 22,000 sqft – double the amount that would be lost by the project.

The DAB rejected the application at a meeting on August 10, citing the location of the proposal on woodland reserve as the reason for the decision.

The warehouse project previously made headlines because the initial proposal suggested the demolition of an “existing warehouse building” at the golf course.

However, Margot Maddison-MacFadyen, of the University of Prince Edward Island, said the building earmarked for demolition was the historic Watlington House.

Dr Maddison-MacFadyen said the building was referenced in Ms Prince’s 1831 autobiography, The History of Mary Prince, as the place where she was prepared for sale as a slave by her grieving mother.

She was joined in her objection to the proposal by the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport, the Mary Prince Historical Trust and celebrated local historian Clarence Maxwell.

Soon after the history of the building was brought to light the plans were modified to move the warehouse to the east of Watlington House, which would preserve the historic portion of the structure.

The proposal for the maintenance shed and its access drive was later moved to a wooded area just west of Barker’s Hill, where a golf cart path cuts across the road as it approaches the junction with Parsons Road and Vesey Street.

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Published August 19, 2022 at 7:58 am (Updated August 19, 2022 at 7:58 am)

Warehouse plan designed to stop use of historic building rejected

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