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NHT rejects St Thomas for dormitory housing

Published:Sunday | May 6, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Avia Collinder, Business Writer

The National Housing Trust (NHT) has three residential developments in the works for St Thomas, but said the parish is not considered a good candidate for dormitory housing for urban Kingston despite its relative proximity.

Instead, the NHT said St Catherine and Clarendon, with better road networks, will continue to be the frontier for dormitory housing development for Jamaicans who work in the conurbation of Kingston and St Andrew.

Conurbation is a planning term which references urban centres whose neighbours tend to be linked with it as part of a larger community, in much the same way that the dormitory Portmore, many of whose residents work in Kingston, is tied to the capital.

Schemes being executed for St Thomas, which sits east of Kingston, include 139 lots in Creighton Hall with delivery date of June 2012, 18 lots in Bellrock, phase II which are slated to be market ready in August and 13 housing units for Wickie Wackie, to be ready in September 2013.

The NHT said in written response to Sunday Business queries that St Thomas does not compare favourably to St Catherine and Clarendon as a dormitory location due to highway access, the existence of land for housing and what was described as social linkages.

"Highway 2000 has made it quite easy to get to most areas in south St Catherine and Clarendon. Conversely, the road to potential housing areas in St Thomas is difficult to traverse," the state agency said.

More potential elsewhere

With regard to available land for housing, NHT said "St Catherine and Clarendon both have greater potential for housing estates due to the availability of large tracts of relatively flat land."

The parishes are already among the most popular for NHT housing development.

Of 89,898 mortgages on NHT's books, 34,590 are for homes in St Catherine; 14,824 for homes in Kingston and St Andrew; and 10,174 for Clarendon.

"Based on research over the years, we have found that the demand for housing west of Kingston — St Catherine and Clarendon — is significantly higher than for St Thomas due to social linkages," NHT said.