Dart appeals Britannia ruling

Confusion over future of "unplayable" golf course

Homes line the now-closed Britannia Golf Course. There is an ongoing dispute over the use of the land. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

The Dart group has filed an appeal of the Grand Court’s judgment which would compel the developer to provide golf access and use of beach facilities to neighbouring residents as a condition of its 2016 purchase of a suite of properties including the old Hyatt hotel and Britannia golf course.

The judgment, released earlier this month, followed a landmark trial that pitted 200 homeowners against the island’s largest landowner.

If the decision is upheld, it would drastically impact the scope of any future development Dart can carry out at those sites.

In a statement Wednesday evening, Dart confirmed it had filed notice of appeal.

Citing uncertainty within the judgment over the future use of the golf course – which is no longer playable – Jackie Doak, president of business development at Dart, said the company believed further clarity was needed.

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While the judgment upheld the Britannia owners rights to use the course, the court ruled that Dart was not required to maintain it. Doak suggested this could lead to a stalemate with the Britannia owners over the future use of the land.

Suite of properties purchased in 2016

Dart acquired the Beach Suites Hotel, the old Hyatt property, and the Britannia golf course, in 2016.

The purchase was complicated by the fact that homeowners in the luxury Britannia Estates residential resort, which borders the golf course, had existing rights to use the sports and recreation facilities.

Dart filed a lawsuit seeking to free itself of those obligations, arguing that they should not be passed on to the new landowner when the property changed ownership. In his judgment Justice Nick Segal dismissed those claims, ruling that the agreements were legally binding.

He said Dart was not obligated to fund the upkeep of the course, but could not do anything that interfered with the golf access rights of the owners.

Doak said in her statement that the judgement “provides some clarity, confirming that Dart is not obliged to maintain or operate the land as a golf course.

Jackie Doak, president of business development, Dart

“However, it also creates a scenario where Britannia owners can only use the land for the purpose of playing golf, while also having to pay to maintain the course.

“Should the Britannia owners not wish to incur the significant costs of running a golf course, this could create a stalemate for both parties.”

She added, “We will continue communications with Britannia owners to establish the fees for use of beach facilities and will seek their confirmation if they wish to maintain the land as a golf course.”

The issue is a complex legal matter connected to how the rights were registered at the outset, Doak said. She added, “Dart and the Britannia owners invested two years in discussions with a view to reach an amicable agreement in relation to the rights.  Unfortunately, the discussions were unsuccessful.”

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