Crown to claim first parcels for Booby Alley land development

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By Elesha George

[email protected]

A motion was passed on Monday, March 9, 2020 to acquire land at Booby Alley, where the government plans to erect hundreds of low-income homes for residents.  

The Senate voted to pass a declaration for the government to claim seven parcels of privately owned land on Alfred Peters Street and in Booby Alley to facilitate the Chinese-funded social housing project.

Documents from the Land Registry Department show that these private residents would have occupied the property since 1979. The total amount of land to be acquired by the Crown is just under 1 acre and signals the first steps in starting the EC $100 million project.

In 2018, the government announced its intention to compulsorily acquire three and a-half acres of land to start the development project that would see residents in Booby Alley and Perry Bay benefit from 150 two-bedroom homes. The project will also see the construction of 50 houses in the Bolans community and another 50 on Barbuda.

Monday’s motion approved a Cabinet decision taken on February 5, 2020 to declare nine additional parcels for that specific public purpose, two of which are already Crown lands.

The motion passed without debate from either side. Once the declaration is published in the Gazette, the land will vest absolutely in the Crown. The Land Acquisition Act gives an authorised officer and his agents, assistants and workmen the authority to enter and take possession of the land accordingly.

According to section 4 of CAP 233, “nothing shall be deemed to prevent the acquisition of lands for public purposes by private treaty”.

The project, for the most part, will comprise of rental properties which will be heavily subsidised. Prime Minister Gaston Browne said during the grant signing ceremony in 2018 that residents who had homes in the Booby Alley area will be able to own a home at a substantially reduced cost and will be credited for their existing homes, no matter the condition.

Meanwhile, Minister of Works Lennox Weston told OBSERVER media that his workers are busy preparing pre-fab homes for residents who have to be relocated while the project is ongoing.

“We had to deal with acquisition in terms of one of the sites and now we’re finally ready to do construction,” he said.

The houses, which are expected to be constructed within the next two months will be built on reclaimed lands which the Minister said had to be made fit for purpose. The first set of houses are expected to be constructed on Bay Street and Pestaina Street in Villa while the other will stretch towards Pares main road and Bendals.

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