Planning Minister approves plan for orphanage
Plans to build an orphanage in Warwick are going ahead despite an initial rejection by the Planning Department.
The project was given in-principle approval after an appeal against the initial decision was upheld by Planning Minister Marc Bean on November 20.
The application proposed a three-story building on an empty lot on Spice Hill Road.
Planning permission was denied by the Development Applications Board last December due to the building’s size and a lack of submitted information.
The proposed 20-bedroom building is intended to serve as an orphanage, and low-cost housing for seniors.
The project is still in the early stages. According to Planning documents, there are issues that could still be addressed before final approval is sought.
Inspector Brian Field stated in the documents that he could not support the project. He described the application as “clearly something of a hodgepodge of miscellany”.
“Any planning approval on this basis of information provided would undoubtedly open up a veritable hornets nest of possibilities,” he wrote.
“I am therefore persuaded that, as presented, the proposal would challenge the prevailing policies/regulations for development in a rural zone, not least given its scale and massing, and I am not inclined to support the applicant on this occasion.”
Despite Mr Field’s recommendation to dismiss the appeal, Mr Bean elected to support it having reviewed the case and visited the site.
A document included in the planning file said: “In his assessment, the inspector had some sympathy with the applicant’s argument that several of the concerns could be adequately dealt with at the detailed application stage.
“The Minister notes that a range of alternative uses has been applied for, and that the provision of any of these is generally permitted by rural area policies in The Bermuda Plan 2008 Planning Statement.
“The Minister does not consider, therefore, that the lack of a defined, specific use is necessarily problematic at the in-principle stage.
“The Minister also considered that the importance of providing private sector senior care and childcare facility is in the national interest given the demand for such facilities and that such factors need to be balanced against purely land use considerations and strict adherence necessary to policy criteria in the Bermuda Plan.”