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McKenzie gathers information on Albion Estates green space

Published:Wednesday | April 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
This is the playing field in Albion Estates, St Thomas, that community members claim was originally designated for a green space. The land has been sold to a private individual.

The Ministry of Local Government is now gathering information in relation to a disputed 400-acre lot in Albion Estates, St Thomas, where residents have complained bitterly for years that the land that they claim was intended to be recreational space for the community has been sold to a private individual.

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie say that he has asked for details about the plight of the residents, and as soon as that information has been provided, he would be in a position to have dialogue with the community.

Residents complained to The Gleaner that for more than 20 years, they have been fighting to reclaim the lot and utilise it as a green space.

Albion Estates was established in 1967, with Lot 998 Albion Estates, Albion Boulevard, identified as the community's playing field. However, eight years later, the land was sold to a private individual. The property subsequently changed hands three times.

Members of the Albion Citizens' Association say that they have made several attempts to engage the St Thomas Municipal Corporation on the vexed issue, but to date, officials from the local authority have not agreed to a meeting with the residents of the community. The residents have also reached out to the Office of the Prime Minister, calling for its intervention in the matter.

Without addressing the specific issue, McKenzie said that he has always stressed the importance of local authorities and the role they play in ensuring strict adherence to the approval process.

"Our responsibility as local authorities is to ensure that whatever approval is granted to any development, those approvals are to be carried out in relation to areas to be left for green spaces," he told The Gleaner.