Thursday, April 18, 2024

Roland Edwards house saved


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Roland Edwards’ house has been saved.

And the attorney who fought for it hopes the court case would serve as a guideline to help save other historic buildings which might be in danger of being demolished.

It was last year that the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) abandoned its plans to demolish the coral stone Chapel Street, Speightstown, St Peter building, which belonged to the man who composed the music of this island’s National Anthem.

The development has come 15 years after Edwards’ house was first added to the list of buildings to be torn down in 2003.

Douglas Trotman, the attorney for Edwards’ grandson Randolph Woodroffe, and who has been leading the fight to save the 17th/18th Century house, told the Sunday Sun that the Crown, acting on behalf of the EPD, had drafted and filed a notice of discontinuance in relation to the action.

“The Crown has withdrawn the matter. They wrote a letter saying it no longer had any interest in pursuing the matter; that they have investigated the property and they no longer have any interest in pursuing it,” Trotman said.

But the attorney said while that meant the traditional Barbadian house had escaped demolition, the Crown should not have been the one to discontinue the matter.

“The law doesn’t work like that. I am the person who filed the action on behalf of my client and the only person that can discontinue that action is me,” Trotman declared.

He explained the substantive matter sought judicial review of the EPD’s 2008 decision to demolish the house.

“We are of the view that our action against the Crown was justified and that the Crown’s action in 2008 was unreasonable and unwarranted and we are asking that we are given the necessary court cost to reflect that,” he declared.

Trotman also believes the court action would help with the adjudication of other similar matters.

“We are hoping that the case in and of itself can be used as a guideline for both sides – the Government and the private interest – and that we can actually strengthen existing legislation and work to preserve the heritage properties and have a more refined methodology for dealing with derelict properties,” he said.

Edwards’ house has been at the centre of a family dispute and fell into a state of disrepair as a result.

However, during the court matter structural engineers for both sides – the Edwards’ family and the EPD – revealed it was the upper floor that was structurally unsound and should be taken down.

That has been removed and the building now has one storey and has been earmarked for renovation. (HLE)


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