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Plans to restore ageing apartment building approved

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Chelsea Apartments, at 11 Redcoat Lane North, St George, is shown in a state of disrepair earlier this year (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

Plans to restore a dilapidated St George’s building into apartments to bolster the island’s housing stock were given the green light from planning officials.

A planning application, submitted by the Bermuda Housing Corporation, proposed renovating the Chelsea Apartments on Redcoat Lane North.

While the building used to house four three-bedroom units, the plans proposed renovations to create nine smaller residential units.

In a report prepared for the Development Applications Board, a technical officer recommended that the application was approved.

“For one, the proposal is for the purpose of rehabilitating, upgrading and improving the standard of the existing development,” it said.

“At present, the buildings are in a dilapidated state and is in need of restoration.

“Two, the proposed works will not be injurious to the amenity of the adjacent properties, but will result in the opposite and be an enhancement to the area.

“Also, the proposal will not create a nonconforming density as there is no density standard for development within Open Space Reserve zoning. As such, the board has discretion to approve the increase of dwellings from four to five.

“Lastly, the applicant has also submitted a grounds-in-support letter which outlined their wish to renovate the Chelsea Apartments to broaden its housing stock.”

Grade 3 listing: the Bermuda Housing Corporation has developed plans for Chelsea Apartments on Redcoat Lane North, St George (Image from planning documents)

The report noted that the heritage officer was consulted about the proposal because of the site’s Grade 3 listing, with the officer stating that the changes would have minimal detrimental impact on the property.

However, the heritage officer suggested that a window and door schedule be provided before permission was granted to start construction, to keep the design as close to the building’s existing character as possible.

The Bermuda National Trust submitted a letter of concern, which said the charity would rather that the building’s balcony was repaired instead of replaced.

In response, the BHC provided a refurbishment quote and other structural documents to demonstrate what measures were taken to restore the building’s architectural features.

The report noted that the documents were shared with the BNT, which said there were no further concerns, but the charity wished to let its representation stand to inform the Department of Planning’s and the Historic Buildings Advisory Committee’s decision making.

The project was one of several highlighted last November by Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour, in the House of Assembly to address the lack of affordable housing in Bermuda.

He said at the time: “The Government will encourage and support housing developments in residential zones as highlighted in the Bermuda Plan and specific plans for other geographical areas.”

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Published May 27, 2024 at 7:52 am (Updated May 27, 2024 at 7:52 am)

Plans to restore ageing apartment building approved

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