Log In

Reset Password

Mayor backs businessman over controversial exhaust fan

First Prev 1 2 3 Next Last
The Pub on the Square, in St George, which has a large extractor fan on its roof, which has now been painted white. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Mayor of St George has waded into a planning row as he backed entrepreneur Marico Thomas’s fight to get planners to approve a controversial exhaust fan on a Grade 2-listed building.

George Dowling III said he hoped the businessman does go ahead with an appeal to enable the revamp of the Pub on the Square, in St George, to bring much needed jobs to the area.

Mr Dowling said he wants to see the enterprise creating employment as soon as possible and even applauded Mr Thomas for giving the historic building added “lustre”.

The comments come after Mr Thomas warned that 45 jobs were hanging in the balance after the Development Applications Board refused a retroactive application for the fan.

The DAB said the decision was made on the basis of the fan’s proximity to a window and because the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service was not given the opportunity to formally review the development.

The organisation also insisted the large fan “poses significant harm to the character, appearance and fabric of the building, and is damaging to the character and appearance of the Historic Protection Area and World Heritage Site”.

Mr Dowling insisted that progress was needed on the issue, adding: “It’s come to a head and it just needs to go through the appropriate process.

“Unfortunately, the retroactive … application was denied, now, that’s an unfortunate occurrence.

“Hopefully, Mr Thomas appeals and I hope that appeal is heard and approved.”

George Dowling III, the Mayor of St George (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

Mr Dowling said the “the ball had been dropped” somewhere in the planning process.

“I applaud Mr Thomas’s efforts for restoring that building to its – actually better than its – original lustre.

“Unfortunately, the ball was dropped somewhere along the way when it came to planning.

“I just want all the boxes ticked, and I want the project to come to a successful conclusion where it is up and running – sooner rather than later.”

Asked if the Government was at fault, Mr Dowling said: “I will not be critical of the Government in that regard because the Government takes licks for things that happen through the civil service.

“Everything that we are talking about here is run and supported by people – and sometimes people make mistakes.”

The unauthorised exhaust fan previously drew complaints from the St George’s Preservation Society.

While the exhaust fan remains on the building, it has since been painted white to blend in with the roof.

Mr Thomas, the restaurateur behind FoodHub and Four Star Pizza, said if the longstanding dispute over the fan for the King’s Square business was not resolved soon, he would be forced to pull the plug on the entire project.

According to the DAB minutes, a technical officer presented the retroactive application for a white-painted exhaust fan with a recommendation to refuse.

Pub on the St George's Square as been at the centre of a long running planning controversy (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Responding to the decision, Mr Thomas, who intends to appeal the ruling, said: “My argument was this is building-stage related, their argument is it’s planning-stage related.

“This is not a safety issue; this is a procedural issue related to the Department of Planning’s processes.”

Mr Thomas said that there is not an alternative viable location for the fan, stating: “No exhaust fan, no business.“

The Grade 2 listed building is located within an historic protection area and the World Heritage Site for St George.

As such, the planning application must be reviewed by the Corporation of St George, St George’s Preservation Authority and the Historic Buildings Advisory Committee.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published January 06, 2023 at 7:56 am (Updated January 06, 2023 at 7:44 am)

Mayor backs businessman over controversial exhaust fan

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon