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Planning approves plans for HWP’s replacement building

A new HWP showroom and body shop, intended to replace the building destroyed in last year’s blaze, has been granted planning approval.

According to the application, financing for the project is already in place.

Plans for a new HWP building at St John’s Road, Pembroke, were received by the Planning Department on December 23 and revised on February 21.

The main warehouse will be comparable in size to the original building, taking up around 18,720 sq ft, including 37,275 sq ft of gross floor space.

The ground floor will include a car show room, a reception and sales area, a parts department, a mechanics’ workshop, a body shop, a paint preparation area and two paint booths, along with ancillary offices and staff facilities such as restrooms and a kitchen.

The building’s second floor will mostly be used for storage, but will also feature a boardroom, bathrooms and a secure storage room.

The site will also include two parking areas, one to the north with space for 15 motorcycles, 14 cars and one disabled parking space, and a staff parking area to the rear of the building with space for six cars and seven motorcycles.

The Department of Public Works expressed some concern that access to St John’s Road could be confusing and possibly lead to accidents, but it was determined that the problem could be remedied by lengthening a wall along St John’s Road to force vehicles to exit onto Bakery Lane before accessing St John’s Road.

According to the February 29 minutes of the Development Applications Board, the resulting project includes several improvements on the original structure.

A section of the minutes read: “Whilst the proposed development largely mimics the development that once existed, the application involves improvements to the overall site in that more appropriate drainage and disposal methods of storm water and waste is entailed and access, parking and internal street circulation is improved which provides for safer vehicular movements within and outside of the site.

“Further, a modern building for the uses provided provides a safer environment for employees, customers and surrounding properties.”

The application was granted planning permission with several conditions. It must receive a building permit before construction on the site can begin.

The HWP building burned to the ground last August 8, resulting in millions of dollars in damage but no serious injuries.

Around 60 firefighters worked for hours to contain and extinguish the fire, which produced a pillar of smoke visible from Flatts. The smoke also caused some concern about the possibility of toxic chemicals finding their way into water tanks in the area, but subsequent tests revealed that the water at nearby homes was safe.

The cause of the blaze remains unknown, according to the Coroner’s office.

Sergeant Lyndon Raynor said there is one bit of outstanding information that needs to be collected before the cause can be determined.

“The Coroner still has the file, but is waiting for a supplementary report from the Bermuda Fire Service.”

A final decision should come following receipt of that additional information, Sgt Raynor added.

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Published March 21, 2012 at 9:54 am (Updated March 21, 2012 at 9:54 am)

Planning approves plans for HWP’s replacement building

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