Government’s plan for hotel development along the urban seafront won’t meet any opposition from the Barbados National Trust – unless it jeopardises Bridgetown and its Garrison’s UNESCO World Heritage designation.
After scoring a victory in seeing a controversial hotel project scaled down, the Trust is now banking on the hotel projects reviving the long-dead part of Bridgetown’s history.
This follows Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s teasing a raft of coastal hotel developments from Savannah Hotel in Hastings, Christ Church north to Black Rock, St Michael.
“We are not of the view that hotel development along the coast is a bad thing; it is just a question about each specific development that occurs,” Trust president Peter Stevens has told Barbados TODAY.
“It makes no sense to oppose developments along the coast for opposing sake but it comes down to how each development impacts the heritage area,” he said.
Touting the possibility of hotels returning to The City, Stevens said: “Bridgetown historically used to have many hotels and it has virtually none now. So, we don’t have a problem with them coming back and writing new phases of history.
“Even with a World Heritage designation, we are allowed to progress, and it just so happens that Bridgetown used to have hotels before. We just can’t have hotels that are disproportionate to the general dimensions of The City.”
The National Trust, which was strongly against the initial plans for a 15-storey Hyatt Hotel at Bay Street, had welcomed the announcement that the hotel’s height is to be trimmed, following an Environment Impact Assessment whic had been completed for the project.
Stevens said: “I am happy that the Government has agreed that the height of the project needs to come down from 15 storeys.
“So, before we had a 190-foot building going up, but now that has been brought down considerably in height and that is more in line with what we were asking for.”
In March 2017, lawyer David Comissiong, now Ambassador to CARICOM, asked the High Court to review permissions granted by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to developer Mark Maloney to build the 15-storey Hyatt.
Comissiong argued that Maloney did not carry out an EIA. He also raised concerns that the project could jeopardise Bridgetown’s heritage designation.
In delivering her Cabinet’s report card for its first year in office, Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced plans to pump billions of dollars in the development of the coastline during the next seven years.
She hinted at the possibility of a ten to 12-storey Hilton Garden Inn at the Carlisle Car Park among other projects in a modernised Bridgetown.
She also suggested that the plans for the major revitalisation of The City are to be rolled out in unison with its World Heritage designation.
“This is what a city with a World Heritage designation ought to do,” Mottley declared.
But the National Trust president said his organisation expected that individual project managers would consult with the Trust before submitting their final plans to the Town and Country Development Planning Office.
Stevens said: “The National Trust is normally asked for an opinion an advice in respect to any of these developments within these historic districts.
“So, we are regularly asked by Town and Country Planning for an opinion on these projects.
“However, we have always advised people that it is better to come to us first so that we can advise them of any dead-end streets that they may be going down, so that they don’t waste any money. [email protected]