Property owner Trevor Kent is calling on the Town & Country Planning Department to break its silence on a controversial four-storey apartment hotel at Enterprise, Christ Church.
The 40-room property has pitted the developer, Accra Beach Hotel Limited, against Kent and several other property owners, who have objected to the hotel on the grounds that it was “incompatible with the character of the area”.
The Town & Country Planning Department has granted permission for construction to proceed, although the High Court has issued an order limiting building operations and/or construction works at the site on Enterprise Beach Road during specified hours until a judgment or further notice.
However, an upset Kent told Barbados TODAY permission should not have been granted in the first place, and it was time for the planning department to explain its action.
“It is my legal advice that the Town Planning Department broke the law by approving this development, which has built high basement walls to within as little as one foot from neighbouring boundaries without any specific permissions from owners, as laid down in the relevant Act,” the property owner stated
“How did this get passed by TCP [Town & Country Planning]? So far, the department has refused to shed any light on this permission, offering instead a wall of silence. Unfortunately, because of the exorbitant cost and lengthy delays – a factor in the cost – although lawyers charge by the court appearance on top of the retainer, the chances of the TCP getting sued, is just about zero. Apparently they are aware of this,” Kent charged.
Property owners Hamilton Henderson and Patrick Frost and Little Arches Hotel Inc had challenged the hotel construction mainly on the grounds that it was undesirable “to change the use of a relatively small plot of land in a predominantly residential area on a road that is a cul-de-sac”.
They also had claimed that “the less than perfect actions” of the developer towards neighbouring property owners had forced them to obtain the court order imposing limitations and restrictions on the developer’s hours of work and other building-related activity in the residential area.
However, General Manager of Accra Beach Hotel Suresh Monickoraja, the agent for hotel owner Kenneth Charles, said Kent sold his property to Accra, “none of this would have happened”.
“Trevor Kent . . . asked us to buy his property. When we offered a price, he refused, and he said it is too cheap. And then he clearly mentioned [with respect to the development] ‘I will get all the community against you. If nothing will work, I myself will build another hotel in there’. He himself is a developer,” the project agent said.
Kent has fired back, strongly denying that his opposition to the project was mere sour grapes.
“I categorically deny that I ever replied to the offer, considering it as being either an arrogant slap in the face, or more likely, as the Trinis like to say, simply a case of Charles ‘trying a ting’,” he added.
The property owner also said there was no truth to his claim that he led the objections because of the rebuff of his offer from the developers.
Trent claimed the objectors had been given almost no access to the plans and elevations. He said only the plan for the basement has been provided, and he wondered why.
“If this is going to be a small, slick and chic hotel [as stated by Monickoraja], why are the developers being so secretive. What are they afraid of revealing? From what little I have been able to glean and with the benefit of my careers in both the construction and hotel industries, I believe that this is going to be a low-class property with no architectural pretentions, catering to the cheapest end of the mass tourism market,” he said.