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Negril planning authority never approved Royalton plans - Former chairman

Published:Wednesday | May 11, 2016 | 5:00 AMClaudia Gardner
A section of the hotel which is the first in Negril to have four floors.

Western Bureau:

At least one of the local planning authorities responsible for granting approvals for building construction in sections of Negril, Hanover, appears to have been bypassed in the application process undertaken by Royalton Luxury Resorts for its new Blue Diamond hotel in the parish.

Immediate past chairman of the Negril and Green Island Area Local Planning Authority (NGIALPA), Cliff Reynolds, expressed displeasure at the sequence of events that unfolded under his chairmanship till now.

"They had bypassed NGIALPA from the earlier days," Reynolds said. "They have been constructing without any kind of building approval from NGIALPA. You should submit to A first and foremost. That was not followed; that (process) was breached from back then. The process is that NGIALPA would look at the plan, make a recommendation either way - for or against - then it would be forwarded to NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) and also the Hanover Parish Council in this case.

"What would be interesting to know is if the Hanover Parish Council has collected any fees. It would be strange for them (Royalton) to be constructing such a building and not pay any money. Every single interval during the construction phase, the parish council is supposed to inspect, and it is a shame that persons can be allowed to come in here and break our laws blatantly with our support - meaning NEPA," Reynolds added.

About 6 yesterday morning, the scaffolding at a section of the hotel collapsed injuring five construction workers, one of whom was trapped and had to be dug from the rubble by three teams of firemen from the Lucea, Savanna-la-Mar and Negril fire departments.

When contacted, David Gardner, secretary-manager of the Hanover Parish Council, told The Gleaner that while he was unable to address what transpired at the initial stages before the commencement of construction at the site, 'amended plans' were submitted to the council by Royalton representatives, but the company was instructed to submit them to NGIALPA.

"I can't speak of the original plans. I know some amended plans were submitted and the amended plans were actually left at the Hanover Parish Council and they were advised that they really should send it to the Negril Green Island Local Planning Authority first, so those amended ones were recently taken down there," Gardner stressed.

"They (amended plans) have not been sent back to the Hanover Parish Council, because they only took them back recently. I don't know originally what happened when the project started; I don't know what might have happened at the start of it," he said.