Fitts Village residents concerned about beach construction

The construction site at Fitts Village, St James where permission has been granted for redevelopment. (Picture by Reco Moore)

Residents in Fitts Village, St James have asked why a structure is being erected at one of the last remaining access points to a beach in the area.

The Town and Country Development Planning Office, in a statement earlier today, said they will monitor the developers to ensure they comply with regulations.

However, on Saturday some residents said they were told no other property was to be erected on that spot and that they would always have access to the beach. This was following a fire that destroyed a popular St James beach bar that was located on the spot many years ago,

So when they noticed that work started there a few weeks ago and that beach access was altered, it raised some red flags for several residents who declined to be identified.

“This is one of the last windows to the sea and the people from the village used to come and picnic, so I think that’s why people are annoyed. What also had people annoyed was some years ago, a high profile minister said there would never be blocked and it was supposed to be left open for the people in the village,” one male resident said yesterday.


A new development is taking shape where Cyrus Bar/Crystal’s Bar and Bistro at Fitts Village, St James once stood. (Picture by Reco Moore)

Another resident who lived in the area his entire life told Nation News what also concerning was that several locals tried to develop the land after the fire, but were denied.

“Several black people wanted to get permission to put something there, but they [were] told they couldn’t, so I’m just wondering what the difference is now between now and then. I just hope whenever they done we can still get through there,” the elderly man said.

When the a Nation team visited on Saturday, the area appeared to be under construction. One of the access points closest to the adjacent property was blocked off with boards, but there was a beach access sign on the other side, which beachgoers can still use.

The statement by the Town and Country Development Planning Office, said permission for the redevelopment of the site of the former Cyrus Bar and Crystal’s Bar and Bistro was granted on August 12, 2021.

They said the decision took into consideration key issues relating to the setback of the new construction from the high-water mark, and the preservation of public access to the beach, both during and after construction.

Town and Country Planning, however, said the public’s interest will be protected.

“Several conditions have been attached to the planning permission to ensure that the public interest is protected; in particular, the existing public access to the beach will be retained, and access will also be provided via the main entrance to the property.

The conditions attached to the permission also include that the developer submits certain additional information prior to the commencement of the works and notifies the Chief Town Planner of the start of the construction,” the statement said.

In addition, they said other requirements include the approval of a construction site management plan, the prohibition of construction vehicles from parking on the sand overnight, continued public access to the beach, and the erection of temporary signage notifying the public of temporary restrictions on using the two access points prior to the commencement of works. (TG)


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