Four companies in Industrial Park in George Town are objecting to an application by National Cement Ltd. to modify plans relating to a concrete batching plant in the area.

The Central Planning Authority is scheduled to hear the application, and the objections, at its meeting on Wednesday, 4 Aug.

Etienne Blake Attorneys-at-Law – representing ITC Ltd., CI Precast Ltd., Tony’s Toys Ltd. and Mac & Sons Ltd. – in a letter of objection to modified plans submitted to the CPA, say National Cement’s proposed work will seriously impact their clients’ established vehicular rights on Sherwood Drive and drainage rights to the Pond.

National Cement has submitted to the Central Planning Authority a modification application to planning approval it previously received for construction of the new batching plant, where concrete is mixed. The latest application seeks to relocate the previously approved fuel-dispensing tank, water tanks, cabana and some concrete batching equipment.

The company stated in its application, “The change has come about to ensure full access is preserved during the construction phase of the works. The equipment needs to be operational in advance of completion of the overall project.”

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It added that temporary fencing would be installed “to maintain safe access as the works progress”.

But the lawyers for the objecting companies claim, “The current application for modification will result in the severe curtailment of our Clients’ rights of way, such that access to and from their adjoining properties will be severely impeded.”

The lawyers stated the fences National Cement intends to erect will block their clients’ rights of way and their “naval rights to drainage” into the Pond, and said their clients’ businesses may be subject to “catastrophic flooding” in the absence of a drainage management plan.

Opposition to filling Pond

They added that an assertion by attorneys for National Cement that a ‘land for public purpose’ designation had been erroneously assigned to the Pond was “without foundation”, and that “the purported removal of the Pond’s LPP designation is unlawful”.

The letter from the companies’ attorneys stated that their clients objected to any application by National Cement Ltd. to fill the Pond with concrete or erect a fence across
Sherwood Drive.

In response to the objection letter, National Cement, via a letter from Jackson Law attorneys, says the claims are “misplaced, irrelevant, baseless and/or without merit”.

Jackson Law stated that, under the current modification application, no permission is being sought to either fill the Pond with concrete or put up a fence across Sherwood Drive, because both of those elements had already been granted approval in the earlier application more than two years ago, and no objections to these had been submitted at the time.

Companies ‘not entitled’ to object

Jackson Law also stated that none of the companies represented in the attorneys’ objection letter are listed as the legal owners of properties neighbouring the site, and therefore cannot be considered legitimate objectors to the application. The lawyers noted that even if the neighbouring properties belong to the owners of those companies, those legal entities are not entitled to object as they are not the legal proprietors of the properties.

National Cement, in its attorneys’ letter, said it had purchased the excavated pit, known as the Pond, in May 2018, and had been surprised to subsequently discover that the government’s Land Information “suddenly and inexplicably” showed the site as ‘Land for Public Purposes’, or LPP. Prior to the purchase, the lawyers said, the company had carried out an exhaustive search of the land registry file and had found no mention of the land being designated as a LPP site.

Jackson Law said an investigation by the Department of Planning into the historic documents relating to the site had revealed that a handwritten note of ‘POS’, which means Public Open Space, had been made, by an unknown person, to the drawings of the site, when a subdivision application had been considered in 1991.

The attorneys said at no point was this area designated as a Public Open Space, under Cayman’s Development Plan; and the Department of Planning, on behalf of the CPA, had confirmed that the LPP designation had been made in error following during an earlier planning application by National Cement in 2018.

Jackson Law also asserted that no “naval rights of drainage” existed for the objectors in relation to the Pond.

Read the full CPA agenda here.

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