Plans to turn a portion of Southlands into a parking area and events lawn have been recommended for refusal over “deficiencies” in the submission.

The plan, submitted last year, was intended to support the neighbouring Bermudiana Beach Resort as well as improve public access to Southlands.

While the plans were set to go before the Development Applications Board yesterday, a report from a planning officer said that the applicant had not responded to a number of concerns about the proposal by the end of March.

The report added that the board had no discretion to approve such a development within a Woodland Reserve Conservation Area.

“In addition, the proposed events lawn and associated development is not essential to the maintenance, conservation, enhancement or enjoyment of the park, the use of chain-link fencing is not considered to be appropriate, it is not been demonstrated that vehicles can safely exit the site, and there would be a net loss in the conservation and aesthetic value of the site and wider area,” the report continued.

The report said that consultation with the National Parks Commission — which was disbanded recently — was not possible, but the Department of Parks had been consulted “in lieu”.

The report added that the lack of feedback from the commission was not considered “critical” to the assessment of the application.

The Department of Parks supported the plan in a February 16 letter, saying that it was “encouraged” by the intent to rejuvenate and protect a former gun battery at the site.

“We also appreciate that the parking lot drawings showcase a number of plantings,” the letter continued.

“We hope that we can work with the resort in order to establish trails between the two parking lots proposed for this area with plantings of endemic and native species.”

The application, submitted by the Bermuda Housing Corporation, proposed the creation of an events lawn on the southeastern portion of the park, which abuts the Bermudiana Beach Resort.

Planning documents described the lawn as “an integral component of hotel use”, while the parking area would be accessible for the public to improve access to the park and beach.

Read more here: