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Fences go-ahead will stop golf course shortcuts

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Location of a proposed gated fence on Somner Lane, St George’s. (Image from planning documents)

A hotel developer has been given the green light to erect gated fences over several roads at the St George’s Club despite almost 50 objections from area residents.

The application proposes that fencing be placed on Rose Hill Street and Somner Lane to limit vehicular access to the property.

According to planning documents, 49 valid objections were received, with the bulk voicing concerns about the Somner Lane fence, located on the north side of the property.

The objections – most of which used identical wording – said the lane had long been used for pedestrian access to the Town of St George and would limit vehicular access to some nearby properties.

However Hotelco Bermuda Holdings, the owner of the property, said the gated fence was needed because of the number of motorists who used the road to make a “short cut” over a golf cart path.

The company said problem had worsened since the reopening of the golf course.

A letter of response to the objections said: “Although we have advised the public not to use these shortcuts and have had the co-operation of police and local MPs and authorities, the results have been discouraging.

“The traffic of private vehicles through the golf cart path has produced numerous incidents between golf cart drivers and trespassing private vehicles, in some cases ending in collisions and people injured.

“It is totally inadmissible that passenger vehicles and pedestrians use golf cart paths as shortcuts between public roads. In no other golf course is this allowed.”

Hotelco added that they had spoken with the Bermuda Police Service about the traffic issues and were told that vehicles that used the golf cart without permission were trespassing and restricting access would help to “mitigate risk”.

Meanwhile the Department of Public Works noted that Somner Lane was a private estate road, not a public road, which meant Hotelco was allowed to install barriers to limit access.

“The rationale behind the request of approval is to impede the traffic of unauthorised vehicles and pedestrians from/to Somner Lane, which represents a danger to the golf players as well as to the persons using the golf cart paths,” the letter continued.

“It is a matter of safety and to prevent more accidents and collisions to happen.

“Additionally, the use of the internal private paths of St George's Club as a passage to the Town of St George is not compatible any more with the operational safety of the hotel.”

A planning inspector recommended the Development Applications Board approve the application in all of the circumstances.

The DAB report said: “Whilst it is understandable that residents may feel aggrieved by the closure of this access given that it has been used by local people for a notable period of time, the rights of access over private land is a civil matter which should not affect the assessment of this planning application.”

The application was approved by the DAB at their meeting on June 3.

The St George’s Club (File photograph)

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Published July 11, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated July 11, 2022 at 7:41 am)

Fences go-ahead will stop golf course shortcuts

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