Plans to block Tom Moore’s jungle
A row has erupted over access to one of Bermuda's most pristine and historical beauty spots.
Last week the owner of Tom Moore's Tavern, Bruno Fiocca, was given permission to erect two entry gates; one at the main entrance to the property off Walsingham Lane and one on its northern boundary.
Mr Fiocca told The Royal Gazette he was pleased the Development Applications Board had agreed to his proposal, which he said was motivated by security reasons and protecting the property that has been repeatedly targeted by burglars. But the decision has angered the Walsingham Trust, which has vowed to appeal the DAB's decision to the Minister of Planning, as well as operators of the Hidden Gems of Bermuda tour, which claims the gate at the main entrance will significantly impact its business.
Mr Fiocca revealed that the gates would be locked when the restaurant was locked, but that the Walsingham Trust, which has a right of way through the jungle, would be given a key.
“People have to understand that this is private property,” he said. “I have put the gates there for security reasons.
“I have been broken into several times over the last few years and people come wandering through the property at all times of the day and night. Bermuda is not what it used to be. Times have changed and I want to protect the property. It's as simple as that.
“The Walsingham Trust has a right to pass through the property which will not be denied and the public can use the entrance at the Blue Hole end.”
Mr Fiocca's planning application sparked opposition from both the Walsingham Trust and Hidden Gems of Bermuda when it went before the DAB and both submitted letters opposing the installation of two entry gates.
However the DAB granted Mr Fiocca permission to install the two gates last Wednesday.
Rebecca Brady, secretary of the Walsingham Trust, said that trustees were very disappointed by the decision and planned to appeal to the Minister of Planning.
“As trustees we believe the public has a right to enjoy an area like the jungle around Tom Moore's Tavern,” she said.
“This is an area that has been accessible to the public for more than half-a-century and this should continue.”
Ashley Harris, who runs the Hidden Gems of Bermuda tour, told The Royal Gazette she was “appalled” by the DAB's decision.
“The greatest issue for us is that we start our tour at Tom Moore's jungle and have done for a long time now,” she said.
“These gates effectively stop us gaining access to the most beautiful and lush part of the jungle and that significantly changes the tour we can offer.
“I find it mind boggling that this has been allowed.
“This is the main entrance to Tom Moore's jungle and they have allowed the owner of the restaurant to put up a gate.
“We believe this will have a significant impact on our business.”