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Condos, shops and restaurant plan for derelict Clayhouse Inn site, residents raise objections

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All change: A blueprint of the planned redevelopment of the Clayhouse on North Shore.

Legendary nightclub Clayhouse Inn is to be demolished and replaced with condominiums, shops and a restaurant.

Developers say the project will revitalise a key site on the North Shore, razing an "eyesore" and replacing it with commercial facilities for all the community.

The planning application however, has already attracted objections from neighbours who claim it will increase noise and traffic and deflate property values by obstructing views of the ocean.

Developers Clayhouse Renaissance Ltd. propose a four-storey apartment building containing 12 condos plus a two-storey commercial building on the eastern half of the site. This will contain a restaurant and bar, office space and retail units.

The application, for final approval, also features underground parking for 57 cars and 54 motorcycles, plus a new bus lay-by.

In a letter to Planning, agents Entasis Architecture state: "In our submission, this application for the complete redevelopment of the former Clayhouse Inn property represents an exciting and long overdue opportunity to rejuvenate a key site on North Shore for the benefit of the local community.

"The property has been in a state of disrepair and neglect, and an eyesore for many years. The existing premises are only fit for demolition."

The architects add: "The commercial component will include shops and services that will serve the residents of the local high-density residential neighbourhoods."

They say the ten two-bed and two one-bed condos will "make a meaningful contribution to the provision of housing for Bermudians".

Residents will also have access to a communal pool, clubroom, half-basketball court and children's play area.

The commercial building meanwhile, will include a two-storey restaurant with outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean.

The planning application however, has attracted complaints from some Devonshire residents. A letter from 'The Mahogany Trust', addressed from North Shore, states: "The development will destroy the tranquillity that neighbours currently enjoy in the form of unobstructed views of the North Shore."

Seven neighbours have also submitted a joint letter to Planning, arguing the building is "too large for the area".

"The design of the building is not in keeping with the character of the community," it states.

"The front of the building facing the road looks like a warehouse."

The letter adds: "I object to the increased traffic and parking and noise that will be generated from a building of this size."

Years ago, Clayhouse Inn was a prime nightspot on the Island, attracting visitors from overseas and revellers from across Bermuda.

Since 1968, it hosted an array of international and local talent under the management of concert promoter Choy Aming.

Jazz musicians, drag queens, dancers, singers, DJs and other entertainers played to the crowds, while the venue also proved a launching pad for many local bands.

It also played for laughs, hosting 'Not the Um Um' shows, and was an assembly point for Mr. Aming's colourful carnival dancers in the Bermuda Day parades.

In January 2002 however, fire broke out in the apartments above, signalling the demise of the popular nightspot. Seven people including a two-year-old baby girl had to be rescued by firefighters from their balconies.

The club itself is said to have sustained smoke damage and water damage to electrical wiring, and did not reopen.

Derelict: The Clayhouse Inn, a former Island hot spot, on North Shore Road Devonshire, is set to be demolished to make way for a condominum complex.