Welcome to the Physical Planning Unit website, a division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment.

Here you will find updates on our present projects and information on the various services we provide.

At the top of our agenda is the draft Physical Development Plan for Montserrat 2012 to 2022. Please click on the links to learn more about the PDP. Review the suggested plans for your area and send us an email with your comments and suggestions.

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17 Responses

  1. Pamela Fulford
    Pamela Fulford 25/10/2011 at 3:33 am |

    It is extremely disappointing that this Physical Development Plan (PDP) has rubber stamped a governmental decision to allow a few to benefit from sand mining operations and aggregate processing in the Belham Valley. Your Plan describes the footprint of the mine covering 6 to 20 acres of the beautiful Belham valley without any Local Area Plan, consultation on the matter, or explanation of the industrial usage in the middle of a functioning and vibrant residential zone. Few will benefit, but the people of Montserrat will pay with degraded beaches, destroyed ecological systems and species and valleys ruined for decades. The tourism industry that is falsely supported in this document will not grow as predicted in the PDP, but will falter and wither along with the destruction of the Belham Valley. In regard to the the protection of the Belham Valley and compared to internationally accepted planning standards, this PDP is a sham.

  2. Hazel Riley
    Hazel Riley 25/10/2011 at 4:12 am |

    Congratulations on your new site!

  3. Andreas Beavor
    Andreas Beavor 25/10/2011 at 1:28 pm |

    Dear Pam,

    Please remember that it has been government policy since Trants became inaccessible in Feb 2010 to mine sand from the Belham Valley and this has to be reflected in the PDP. We made it clear in the Beachettes consultation in July that the PDP does not have any influence over sand mining but has to fit in with government policy. The issue is where sand will be exported from and how sand mining can be best managed in the valley, particularly to reduce impacts on the residential areas, which is what the EIA and Environmental Management Guidelines are aiming to achieve.

    I hope you find more positive developments and land use policy in the rest of the PDP.


    1. Douglas Darby
      Douglas Darby 29/10/2011 at 1:39 pm |

      Could you please provide documentation where “it has been government policy since Trants became inaccessible in Feb 2010 to mine sand from the Belham Valley.”

  4. Andreas Beavor
    Andreas Beavor 25/10/2011 at 9:14 pm |

    A quick note on the 6 to 20 acres identified in the PDP as a requirement for sand mining.

    The total sand covered area of the Belham Valley between the sea and the exclusion zone boundary is 105 acres. The area currently mined is approximately 30 acres, in an ad hoc manner. We have based the requirement on the assumption that a better manged operation that will take up less land space but will be more productive. We are also basing that on an assumption that sand mining will not be permitted between the Isles Bay Plantation stone archway and the sea, an area of some 65 acres(an assumption based on EIA consultations and discussions). This leaves about 40 acres of total sand covered area from Isles Bay Plantation up to the exclusion zone boundary, of which perhaps the lower 20 acres may be mined.

    However, these are just assumptions while awaiting formal government decisions and a Management Plan.

    Andreas, PDP Team

    1. Andreas Beavor
      Andreas Beavor 02/11/2011 at 2:21 pm |

      Correction to the above: The assumption is that sand mining will not be permitted west from along the line of the existing track leading across the valley to to Garibali Hill rather than along a line south of the Isles Bay Plantation arch as was written above.

  5. David McKeand
    David McKeand 25/10/2011 at 9:47 pm |

    Thank you very much for making this important document available for review and comment. It is a very informative, well presented resource.

    The “GIS figures” referenced throughout the website and within the PDF
    documents do not seem to contain the relevant maps/graphics. Are there plans to convert the GIS documents to high-resolution/point-count PDF attachments one could download to help provide context to the discussions? The raw GIS format would also prove useful if the PDFs are not available.

    Thanks very much,

    David McKeand

  6. Andreas
    Andreas 25/10/2011 at 10:13 pm |

    Hi David, we’ve noticed this problem and we’ll hopefully have all the figures embedded in the downloadable sections by Wednesday 26th October. Sorry about the inconvenience but it should all be working well very soon.

    Andreas, PDP Team

  7. Douglas Darby
    Douglas Darby 30/10/2011 at 3:07 pm |

    At this time, when the most contentious land usage issue on Montserrat is the attempt to establish a sand mining industry in or adjacent to the Beachettes, this PDP should not dismiss the creation of a Local Area Plan for the Beachettes with the statement on p. 129 that says, “It should be noted that the Beachettes areas comprising Woodlands, Olveston, Old Towne and Isles Bay (as defined in Figure 6.1) do not have dedicated LAPs as land use is not complex and is generally uncontested.” That very same page says, “A concise Local Area Plan has been prepared for each of these [OTHER] areas, where land use and planning issues are more complex, with the following objectives:
    To provide an understanding of the current land use and infrastructure
    situation, current demographic trends and environmental and social
    To provide an understand community issues and concerns;
    To highlight which local facilities are lacking, what types of development
    are appropriate for each area and what capacity there is for certain types
    of future development;
    To set out the opportunities and constraints to future development;
    To outline the general strategy for the sustainable development of each
    area supported by a suite of detailed land use planning policies and
    infrastructure recommendations.”
    Without a Local Area Plan are the Beachettes afforded the same protections spelled out for Salem, for example, where it is written in their LAP, Policy LAP 6.8, p. 181 in regard to the proposed water bottling plant, “Development permission for such enterprises should not be permitted if the impact on surrounding residential areas is likely to be significant in terms of noise, odour and other disturbance?” Or will this protection for the Beachettes be provided under nearly identical language of Policy IS6 and IS8 on p. 117?

    Also, as an historical document, this PDP should acknowledge that sand mining, at least in the lower Belham Valley, is presently occurring illegally, with Government not possessing the political will to enforce existing restrictions. The PDP will be inaccurate for all history if it is not revised on p. 34 and other areas of the document where it simply says, “Sand is currently mined in the Belham Valley area.”

    1. Douglas Darby
      Douglas Darby 30/10/2011 at 3:39 pm |

      Apologies for inappropriate page references. What I refer to as p 129 is PDP page 110, p 181 is PDP page 162, p. 117 is PDP page 98 and p. 34 is PDP page 15.

    2. Andreas
      Andreas 31/10/2011 at 4:09 pm |

      Hi Douglas, in response to your request for an LAP for the beachettes area: This would be quite a simple exercise to do and may add value to the PDP. We left it out at this stage because after the beachettes consultation in July we decided that this is not an area of contested land use, once you accept that sand mining will be taking place in the Belham and will be addressed by the EIA and Environmental Management Plans, as has been made clear to the PDP team. There are also not many specific infrastructure recommendations to be made that are not either covered in the national sections or the separate Infrastructure Plan 2012-2022.
      An LAP may emphasis the value of residential areas such as Old Towne and we could include it in the PDP for that reason. However, all the national policies in Section 6 and the property covenants ensure that, apart from the sand mining issue, this is a well established land use (Residential with some flexibility for small enterprises such as the Attic) and a well protected one (See also Policy H3 on page 81). Perhaps the only real benefit of having a dedicated LAP for this area is to have all policy in one place so that its easy to see the relevant land use strategy and policy for this area. We will discuss this in the PDP team. An LAP won’t be able to resolve sand mining! We’ve noted your comment about stating that illegal sand mining is taking place.

  8. Douglas Darby
    Douglas Darby 30/10/2011 at 8:13 pm |

    Unlike a water bottling plant or “agro-processing” industry, sand mining is an already existing activity on island that produces noise and other disturbances. In regards to the two activities specifically stated, and only for the Salem LAP, POLICY LAP6.8 on p. 162 states, “Development permission for such enterprises should not be permitted if the impact on surrounding residential areas is likely to be significant in terms of noise, odour and other disturbance.” No similar POLICY is spelled out that would include the already existing noise producing and other disturbances producing sand mining industry. POLICY LAP6.8 should be amplified to include sand mining permissions and be made applicable to all areas and all LAP’s, not just Salem. Theoretically, as the PDP is currently written, if the water bottling plant was determined to be located in Olveston, not Salem, for example, even that would no longer be covered under this POLICY.

    1. Andreas
      Andreas 31/10/2011 at 4:10 pm |

      Douglas, Regarding your concern on water bottling policy, all residential areas on the entire island are covered by policy IS5 on p97. We included a specific water bottling facility policy for the Salem LAP as this is most likely where such a facility would be located. The area of land next to the Secondary School is owned by a German company (or perhaps just two brothers) who have been renewing their planning permission every year for a water bottling plant.

      A light industry such as water bottling will not be permitted in the residential Beachettes areas. The only land use permitted here is residential and a small amount of commercial enterprises such as the Attic restaurant which hopefully add value to the community. Enforcement of the existing covenants is the best way to protect this area.

      1. Andreas
        Andreas 31/10/2011 at 4:12 pm |

        Douglas, in response to your question on why a specific sand mining policy hasn’t been included, Policy IS8 is designed to reduce impact from any industry including sand mining. We may add a similar policy statement to the end of the sand mining policy (Policy IS2) but we are hoping that the EIA and Environmental Management Plan will do a more effective job to ensure that impact is minimised. However, this comment, along with your others will be discussed by the Planning and Development Authority as we revise the final PDP.

  9. Montserratian in London
    Montserratian in London 21/12/2011 at 4:55 pm |

    If I am to live in Montserrat, I would like to be able to use a golf course. There should be more efforts to get investment in a resort with a gulf course.

  10. Paula Richardson
    Paula Richardson 13/01/2012 at 1:28 am |

    The introduction of the mining industry has the potential to seriously disrupt people’s livelihoods and tourism, which has been a main source of revenue for the island, and has a direct impact on those living in the area.

    In the best interest of the island and residents please consider the following:
    1. Participation of local residents is essential in this decision-making process. Please ensure there are public forums for people to share information, contribute to the decisions and explore options. The location of this sand mining operation will have a direct impact on my family’s interest in the island and on hundreds of other residents and businesses in the area. Please ensure we are also included and kept informed and up-to-date on the decisions affecting our future.

    2. Please consider the Foxes Bay option for the operation. This may also be a viable place for sand mining and has less direct impact on local tourism and businesses.

  11. Paula Richardson
    Paula Richardson 13/01/2012 at 1:35 am |

    We object to any changes in policy or land use within the proposed Plan for the Belham River Valley area below the old Belham Bridge (including the beach recreation area). The Beachettes residential area, including the old golf course, should remain restricted to residential, light tourism, and recreational uses.

    We purchased our residential properties subject to strict residential covenants legally imposed within the Beachettes area. We also relied upon implicit and explicit assurances from Government that the Beachettes area land use policy would restrict development to residential, light tourism, and recreational uses, consistent with the existing development and original Beachettes plan. Heavy industrial activity is not compatible within this area and will cause property owners, residents, and recreational users grave if not irreparable loss and harm.


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