National Land Use Policy

Download National Land Use Policy here.

6.3        National Land Use Policies

This section sets out detailed national land use policies by sector for north Montserrat. This is followed by Section 7 which provides more detailed land use zoning and supporting policy for the main settlement areas in the form of Local Area Plans.

6.3.1   Housing

Policy H1 – Housing Development

It is anticipated that private housing development will occur in line with demand. If population growth occurs in line with the economic projections as estimated in Section 3.2, demand for housing stock is likely to increase as set out in the table below.

Table 6.1      Forecast Housing Stock

Year 2011 2016 2022
Total housing stock* Approx. 3000 3735 4,850
Additional stock N/A 735 1,850

*2011 housing stock to be updated when census figures are released

Where possible, development should be implemented in a coordinated way so as to ensure cost effective investment in infrastructure and to avoid dispersed, fragmented development outside of existing residential areas.

A range of densities are proposed:

Table 6.2      Residential density classifications

Density Dwellings per acre Plot size (sq. ft.) Approx. sq. m. Equivalent
Low density 2 – 4 7,500 – 13,000 2,500 – 4,330
Medium density 5-10 4,000 – 7,000 1,330 – 2,330
High density 10-15 2,500 – 4,500 830 – 1,500

Low density housing will take the form of villa type housing. Medium density dwellings will take the form of small villas, houses and individual units. High density dwellings will take the form of small houses, individual units, and where appropriate, town houses, duplexes, linked units and apartments (see Development Standards, Appendix A, for maximum building heights.

All development should be in accordance with the Development Standards set out in Appendix A. The design style of dwellings should wherever possible utilise traditional features of Caribbean architecture.

Provision is made for housing by the government and the private sector. It includes provision for dwellings and serviced lots to meet the needs of all household types and income groups. Implementation will be mainly through stimulation of the land market and through government acquisition where absolutely necessary.

There are no priority housing areas; development will be encouraged throughout north Montserrat on an equal basis. Many existing residential areas across north Montserrat will continue to be developed through the subdivision and development of lots.

While private sector housing will account for most of the housing supply, there will be cases where government built housing is required. There are several significant development areas, as identified in Section 5.7 that may be suitable for larger coordinated projects as the need arises.

Residential properties in Little Bay will be developed by the private sector but adhering to guidelines provided by GOM, through the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC). See Section 7.4 for further details on the development of Little Bay.

Refer to Appendix D for an estimation of land required for housing development in each area of north Montserrat.

Policy H2 – Infilling and Consolidation of Existing Settlement Areas.

During the plan period to 2022 housing throughout the north will be provided mostly by via private sector development, the majority being individuals constructing their own dwellings. Figure 5.3 in Section 5 illustrated that there is a significant potential for infilling existing residential areas. The benefits of consolidation include local access to services and shops, reduced demand for new service infrastructure investment, and reduced impact on Montserrat’s natural resources.

Policy H3 – Residential Subdivisions

Residential subdivisions in the areas of Woodlands, Olveston, Old Towne and Isles Bay are to be maintained as low density residential land use. These areas provide for Montserrat’s substantial residential tourism sector.

The existing property covenants will be enforced to ensure that inappropriate development does not occur with the subdivision area. Commercial development is generally not permitted in these areas. Exceptional cases will be considered where it is thought that the commercial activity can add to the quality of life in the surrounding area.

Policy H4 – Social Housing

GOM is committed to providing assistance to all vulnerable households to ensure adequate housing or sheltered accommodation so that no-one is without suitable housing. All remaining communal shelters will be vacated and occupants transferred to alternative government owned accommodation.  Sub-standard single family units will be replaced.  As funds permit, the GOM will pursue a policy of selective land acquisition that aims to integrate future social housing within existing and new developments to ensure an equitable socio-economic mix. Future social housing provision will be developed in line with the provisions of GoM Housing Policy (in preparation).

6.3.2   Education

Policy E1 – Pre-School Education

Pre-school education facilities will be established on a demand led basis and can be accommodated in existing buildings and private houses once the necessary licence and permissions have been granted.

Policy E2 – Primary Education

Existing primary school capacity is sufficient to respond to population growth targets up to 2022.

Land occupied by the St Augustine Private School will be formally zoned for education and provision made for the expansion of the school with the current site.

Policy E3 – Secondary Education

The buildings comprising the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) at Salem and the site layout do not constitute a suitable basis for continuation or expansion of this establishment. Policy E3 recognises that refurbishment and redevelopment of the current site may be compromised by space and disaster management constraints by making provision for a new secondary school campus in north Montserrat.

A number of potential sites have been evaluated as outlined in Table 6.2. The location of these are illustrated in Figure 6.2.

Table 6.3      Evaluation of existing and potential sites for the MSS

Site location Site Area (acres) Site Description Proximity to pupils homes Immediate access Land ownership
Existing Site (Salem) 6 Constrained, sloping land Further from main population base Direct access from A01 road to Salem Government
Pasture Piece, Geralds 10 Flat and gently sloping area Close to main population base Condition of roads generally good Private (many family members with equal rights)
Blakes Estate, north of FIFA pitch 12 Gently sloping area. Would conflict with sports tourism Further from main population base Access from A02 road to Jack Boy Hill in poor condition Private (individual)

Policy E4 – Further Education

A key function of the UWI Open Campus is the provision of distance learning and vocational courses. To maximise day time use of its facilities, UWI have expressed a desire for a new site location at Brades or Little Bay. This releases land at MSS for alternative development.

GIS figure 6.2 – potential MSS sites

6.3.3       Health Services

Policy HE1 – Hospital Facilities

The renovated Glendon Hospital in St John’s accommodates 38 beds and more and better quality facilities. The renovated hospital will remain sufficient for the projected island population by 2022.

Policy HE2 – Health Clinics

A health clinic is to be provided for the Lookout community to cater for existing needs.

Subject to revisions of the forecast population growth, land is to be reserved for clinics at Geralds or Drummonds and/or at Little Bay to serve future population growth in these areas. A clinic at Little Bay would serve an additional function of attracting more people into the new centre.

All other communities have sufficient level of service to accommodate forecast population growth.

6.3.4   Community Facilities

Policy CC1 – Local Community Centres

Section 5.2 stated that Davy Hill and St Johns are to receive community centres. Land has been allocated and the plans are going ahead.

Land will also to be allocated for community centres at:

  • St Peters
  • Geralds and Drummonds (as a combined facility)

Each community centre should include a minimum of:

  • classroom and teaching facilities
  • ICT facilities and internet access
  • a venue for large group meetings and community events

Buildings should also act as hurricane-proof shelters and emergency accommodation for post-disaster relief efforts.

Community centres should also generally have hard court sports facilities and shaded outdoor areas where families and small children can spend time, plus indoor as a play areas for use during inclement weather (See Policy RL2)

Policy CC2 – Public Library and National Archives

Land is to be allocated at a suitable location in Brades or Little Bay for a public library. The national archives are to be incorporated into the National Museum.

6.3.5   Recreation and Leisure

Policy RL1 – Local Recreation

Land is to be allocated for local recreational facilities at:

  • Davy Hill
  • Geralds
  • St John’s
  • St Peters

Land allocations are dependent on the land being made available in each area and on negotiation with land owners. See Section 7 – Local Area Plans for more detailed proposals relevant to each Local Area.

Policy RL2 – Local Play Areas for Small Children

Land is to be allocated in the centre of each community for local play areas comprising facilities such as swings, roundabouts and slides.

Policy RL3 – Sports Facilities

The cricket pitches at Little Bay and Salem Park are to be preserved and maintained to an appropriate standard.

Policy RL4 – Golf Course

Land is allocated for the private development of a golf course on Blakes Estate. Also see the sports tourism Policy TE2. Proposals must ensure that affordable local access to the golf course is prioritised.

Policy RL5 – Exercise Trails and Recreational Space at Brimm’s Ghaut

Land is allocated in Brimms Ghaut as indicated in Figure 6.1 for activities such as walking, running and cycling. Trails should be planned and created to allow a series of routes and links so that loops of different length and gradient can be included. Access is to be provided from Lookout via Margharita Bay and the west of Lookout, from St John’s via the hospital grounds and from Geralds and Drummonds via the upper end of Brimms Ghaut. Appropriate and sufficient parking must be provided in adjacent to recreation and leisure sites.

Policy RL6 – Recreational Access to the Silver Hills

In accordance with the provisions of Policy E1 and in conjunction with local land owners, all-weather access walking trails of varying distances shall be established. These should be designed and constructed in keeping with the surrounding landscape and be accessible to less mobile individuals. The trails will include picnic facilities and educational signboards highlighting items of cultural and ecological importance.

Policy RL7 – Hiking Trails

The current network of hiking trails, damaged during Hurricane Earl in 2010, will be upgraded to include clear signposting and information at strategic locations.  Signboards along the trails will bring attention to important cultural heritage and environmentally important features on their routes.

Policy RL8 – Mountain Biking Trails

Consistent with Policies RL6 and E1 to encourage recreational use of the Sliver Hills, a mountain bike trail shall be established. Planning permission will include suitable restrictions to ensure protection of the environment in the surrounding areas.

Policy RL9 – Recreational Land at Woodlands and Waterworks Estate

Approximately 8 acres of land is allocated for recreational use at Woodlands beside Cassava Ghaut as indicated in Figure 6.1. This is privately owned and development here is likely to be privately driven.

Additional land is available for recreational use at the Waterworks Estate, south east of Salem, subject to discussions with the land owner.

6.3.6   Religious Services

Policy RE1 – Public Cemetery

Land is allocated at the eastern end of Lookout for a public cemetery. It is estimated that at the current mortality rate this 3-acre site will have sufficient capacity to 2018.

Additional cemetery space will be required to meet the projected increasing population and an increasing proportion of elderly residents returning from abroad. Suitable sites are to be located well before the full capacity of the Lookout site is reached. Potentially, several sites in the Silver Hills are suitable subject to ground condition surveys.

Policy RE2 – Interdenominational Church

Land is to be allocated at Little Bay for an interdenominational church. This must be developed in consultation with the Christian Council as well as representatives of non-Christian faith. This must provide sufficient parking as stated in the Development Standards in order that it serves a secondary function as a safe hurricane shelter.

6.3.7   Agriculture

Policy A1 – Defining Agricultural Land

A total of 250 acres of agricultural land are allocated on the northern fringes of the Centre Hills as indicated in Figure 6.1. These are to be leased from landowners by GOM and then sub-leased to local farmers. A buffer of 100 metres is to be maintained between the agricultural land and the protected forest boundary. This is to safeguard vulnerable species such as the Oriole from disturbance and to prevent increasing pressure on the forest boundary. Activities permitted in the buffer zone are restricted to the cultivation of fruit trees. Additionally requested activities must be agreed to by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment.

Existing agricultural land at Upper Blakes and Duckpond are to remain as such.

Access and water storage is crucial to developing and maintaining a high level of food production on agricultural land. Sections 6.3.14 and 6.3.17, provide policy on agricultural access roads and water infrastructure respectively. Further details are provided in the associated Infrastructure Plan 2012-2022.

Policy A2 – Safeguarding Agricultural Land

Development permission will not be granted for non-agricultural development which utilises agricultural land as designated in Figure 6.1. Exceptions may be made for the purpose of light footprint infrastructure including energy, telecommunications, water supply and sustainable treatment of wastewater and solid waste.

Policy A3 – High-Tech farming

To help meet food production targets set out in the Department of Agriculture’s Food Production Strategy 2009-2014 and subsequent documents, increased consideration is to be given to the use of new agriculture technologies including greenhouses, net-houses and hydroponic irrigation systems.

Land is to be allocated in response to demand, but must be subject to the Development Standards in Appendix A. Where necessary, appropriate vegetation screening should be in place to reduce visual impact.

Policy A4 Back Yard Farming

Minimum plot sizes set out in Policy H1 are such that every dwelling should have sufficient space for the household to grow a variety of fruit and vegetables to reduce the need for imported foods.

Policy A5 Selling Agricultural Produce

The existing market in Little Bay should function increasingly well as cultural and business activities increase in Little Bay.

Land is allocated for a simple covered market in the centre of Salem. See Section 7 – Local Area Plans for further details.

Policy A6 – Semi-Intensive Rearing and Controlled Pasture Land

Sufficient land is to be allocated for semi intensive and for controlled rough grazing. This is to facilitate a general move away from free roaming livestock across north Montserrat which has a negative impact on the production of local produce and on ecology.

Several areas in the Silver Hills, as well as areas to be allocated close to each community, are to be fenced for these purposes.

It is essential that water supply for livestock are maintained in each fenced area. Sufficient ponds must be maintained as required to provide livestock with adequate drinking water.

Policy A7 Abattoir

Land is allocated in the west of Brades for an Abattoir. (See Section 7.5)

6.3.8   Fisheries and Maritime Services

Policy F1 –Breakwater and Port

Subject to detailed feasibility studies, including bathymetric survey and Environmental Impact Assessment, land is allocated at Littler Bay or Carr’s Bay for the development of a new breakwater and upgraded port facilities. This is subject to the 2011 master plan review. The redeveloped area may, inter alia, include a boat chandlery and maintenance yard, yacht club and restaurants, and residential accommodation with private moorings.

Policy F2 – Fisherman’s Wharf and Facilities

Subject to detailed master planning and site feasibility studies either the port and marina development (Policy F1) will include provision for small fishing vessels, both dry side maintenance and storage and safe marine moorings. An nearby site will be identified for storage lockers and fresh-fish processing facilities. Site location and operating guidelines will be necessary to mitigate environmental health risks associated with this land use.

6.3.9   Emergency Services and Security

Policy ES1 – Salem Police and Fire Station

The existing police and fire station at Salem will continue to serve the population living in Salem and adjacent areas.

Policy ES2 – Little Bay Fire Service Facilities

Land is to be allocated in Little Bay for a small fire station to include space for a fire tender, 4×4 Fire and Rescue truck and an ambulance.

Policy ES3 – Prison

The prison is to retain its current location in Brades. Any required expansion of the prison is to be accommodated adjacent to the current site.

Policy ES3 – Critical Communications Infrastructure in the Silver Hills

The existing facility on the summit of the Silver Hills is to appropriately maintained and earthed to prevent damage from lightening, rain water and strong wind.


6.3.10 Tourism

General tourism strategy

Montserrat has a many attractions to offer the tourism market and it is important that it emphasises its niche in terms of branding and attracting the desired types of tourist. GOM wishes to develop a model of low volume, high spend tourism which will capitalise on a combination of its natural and built environment and exclusive experiences for visitors. This is to be achieved while minimising the cumulative negative impacts of development.

Montserrat’s positive attributes include:

  • The Soufrière Hills Volcano and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory
  • Attractive natural environment based on protected Centre Hills forest, ecologically rich ghauts and coastline and the Silver Hills area.
  • Bird watching along the northern and eastern cliffs
  • Archaeology and heritage across the island
  • Safe and genuine communities with friendly and hospitable people
  • Wide range of high end villas and comfortable guesthouses
  • An ‘undiscovered’ and ‘off the beaten track’ feel
  • On route for regional cruise ships and the Caribbean leeward islands yachting routes

Additional significant selling points when implemented:

  • Sports tourism facilities including a golf course
  • Better established eco-tourism
  • Volcano interpretation centre and national museum

Increasing tourism arrivals and return trips is based on improved sea and air access. As well as this there are several key policies that will help to recover tourism in Montserrat towards its former level of 15,000 arrivals per year. The Montserrat Tourist Board estimates that 550 to 600 beds are required in addition to the existing 150 beds to accommodate 15,000 arrivals per year with a weakly peak of 700 tourists.

Figure 6.3 shows the current tourism infrastructure, important to maintain for future prosperity. A list of the tourism attractions plotted is available in Appendix H.

Policy TE1 – Tourism Centre at Little Bay and Carr’s Bay

The Three Bay Concept comprises a consistent tourism development theme that links Carr’s Bay, Little Bay and Rendezvous Bay. Little Bay and Carr’s Bay will develop according to the revised MDC master plan with a mixture of tourism, food and leisure services, commercial and office space, a hotel development and some residential units. Rendezvous Beach is to be maintained a valuable natural area with access by boat or on foot. If technically feasible, and environmentally appropriate, there is potential for a light touch eco resort to be located on the slopes overlooking Rendezvous Beach. See the Local Area Plan for Davy Hill, Little Bay and Carr’s Bay in Section 7.5 for more detail on development options in this area.

Policy TE2 – Sports Tourism and Villa Development

Land is allocated within the Blakes Estate for the development of sports facilities and supporting villa development. There are plans for a course golf (Policy RL4), tennis and basketball facilities. These would be set within the very attractive landscape of the Blakes Estate along with approximately forty low density villas. These facilities will complement the FIFA football facility and could be eventually added to with track and field facilities.

While the sports facilities will attract visitors from overseas, visiting sports teams, sports training camps and so on, it is crucial that these facilities are made available for public and community use.

Policy TE3 – Hotel Facilities

Land is allocated for the development of a 50 to 100 bedroom hotel in Little Bay. It is anticipated that this will be developed in conjunction with the port and other elements of the Little Bay and Carr’s Bay site.

Further suggested sites for hotel development are to be evaluated by the Planning and Development Authority on a case by case basis.

Policy TE4 – Guesthouses

Guesthouses play a crucial role in providing tourist and business accommodation in Montserrat and will continue to do so. The maintenance of existing and establishment of new guesthouses is to be encouraged across the island.

Policy TE5 – Eco-Tourism

Montserrat is well positioned in terms of natural assets and target visitor population to provide successful high-end eco-tourism. An attractive, but low-end, Eco-lodge demonstrates the concept at Mount Pleasant, St Peter’s. There are several locations where such a development could be located, the most favourable being on the eastern and western fringes of the protected Centre Hills, outside the forest boundary, and close to Rendezvous Bay. Developments must be strictly controlled to minimise negative impacts on the environment and to set a high standard in sustainable development and the use of ‘green’ utilities and technology.

Policy TE6 – Walking / Hiking trails

In line with the provisions of Policies RL3 and RL4 to support the emphasis of tourism based on the enjoyment of nature, the existing network of hiking trails should be well maintained. Additional trails should be established in the Silver Hills area and consideration given to an extension of the network in the Centre Hills. A coastal trail is to be developed between Rendezvous and Jack Boy Hill. These must have minimal impact on the environment while providing access so that the environmental assets can be enjoyed.

GIS Figure  6.3 – Existing and Proposed Tourism Infrastructure

TE7 – High Wire ‘Forest Experience’ in the Centre Hills

Montserrat could add to its tourism product with a forest experience based on a short but intense trip through the Centre Hills forest at tree canopy level. This is based on wire walks rope swings, climbing obstacles, all while admiring the view and experiencing the forest. Such an experience should be challenging, fun and educational, and should appeal to adults as well and children.

Such a development must minimise its impact on the surrounding environment and should be integrated within it. Access to the site must be safe and convenient and sufficient parking must be provided. Safety is a key issue and participants must wear appropriate safety equipment.

TE8 – Tourism Services

Tourism services are to be particularly encouraged in Little Bay and Carr’s Bay including premises for shops, restaurants, bars, diving businesses, boat trip and island travel agencies, craft and souvenir industries.

TE9 – Safeguarding Views

Much of the appeal of the ‘Emerald Isle’ of the Caribbean is in the natural landscape. Protecting views and green spaces is ingrained in the land use strategy. Further efforts are to be made to ensure that these views are not degraded through inappropriate development (see Policy E5) and, where appropriate, visual impact is to be considered as part of the evaluation of planning applications. Adhering to the Development Standards in Appendix A will also minimise negative visual impact of developments.

TE10 – Character Areas in Villages

Montserrat has maintained a number of village centres which are attractive and make up a unique character based on vernacular style of architecture, lay out of buildings and spaces and community atmosphere.  It is proposed that these be formally designed Character Areas. The process of designation, protection and enhancement can result in areas which not only can be marketed as a tourist attraction, but which can stimulate commercial activity in general by providing a more vibrant, interesting and confident atmosphere in which to live and work.

Proposed Character Areas include:

  • Cudjoe Head
  • Salem
  • St Johns
  • St Peters

Development in these centres should take into account the village character and aim to preserve as far as possible, styles and examples of traditional architecture and the density and building height, range of shops or services and open space conducive to this character.  In consultation with local communities the boundaries of these areas will be formally defined and a simple suite of policies, to be applied through the PPA (2002) will be developed and enforced.

Relevant character areas are further defined in Section 7 – Local Area Plans.

6.3.11     Industry and Storage

Not all developments require the applicant to undertake a full environmental impact assessment. However, the PDA must be able to respond effectively on a case by case basis to proposals for dirty or potentially polluting land-uses. An environmental screening note will be prepared by the Department of Environment for all developments described in Planning Policies IS1 to IS6 as part of the formal planning system. Subject to the findings of this screening a full EIA may still be required.

Light industry includes activities such as agro-processing, manufacture of sand-based products and data storage facilities where extensive cooling is required. It is not anticipated that heavy industrial activities will be economically viable or desirable in Montserrat.

Policy IS1 – Industrial development

Land has been allocated for light industrial development in the existing quarry site at Little Bay. This is shielded from the town by Bonito Hill while maintaining easy access to the port facilities. A secondary industrial area is the existing area on the western coastal edge of Brades and Shinnlands.

Policy IS2 – Sand Mining

The Government has made a policy decision that sand mining activities should be based in the Belham Valley area. This must be managed in such a way as to minimise the impact on the surrounding residential areas and on the environment. All sand mining activities will, therefore, be subject to the findings and provision of an Environmental Impact Assessment and associated Environmental Management Plan.

The removal of sand from beaches is generally forbidden in accordance with the Beach Protection Act (2002). The removal of small quantities of sand for construction purposes is allowed subject to issuing of a permit.

Policy IS3 – Quarry Location

There are a number of high profile problems with the location of the existing quarry east of Little Bay.  Subject to the implementation of a site rehabilitation plan, the quarry will close, releasing the site for development in accordance with Planning Policy IS1. A new quarry location will be identified subject to detailed technical and environmental studies.

In determining where development permission should be granted for a new quarry, in addition to the environmental impact of any new proposed quarry site, regard should be had for the opportunities for re-instatement of the landscape and after-use of the existing and the proposed quarries.

Policy IS4 – Value-adding sand based products

With the sand mining industry there are several opportunities for additional industries. Small scale value-adding enterprises such as tile manufacturing and block manufacturing can take place where raw materials are easily available. Land has been allocated in Brades and on the southern edge of Salem around Happy Hill for the location of such industry.

Policy IS5 – Water bottling plant

The springs of Montserrat produce an exceptionally high quality water product and the extra capacity over local consumption mean that this can be bottled and exported for local and regional markets. Land is allocated in the north of Salem beside the Montserrat Secondary School for this purpose. Noise attenuation and vegetative screening should form part of a package of design measures to be agreed with the Department of Environment, to ensure potential negative effects are minimised and in keeping with the surrounding residential and educational area. Additional locations are to be considered if necessary, subject to demand. See Section 7.7 – Salem Local Area Plan for further detail.

Policy IS6 – Agro-processing plant

GOM has highlighted that agro-processing can play a part in Montserrat’s increasing economy. Small scale facilities can be established in a number of places subject to strict environmental controls and in accordance with the provisions of national environmental legislation. Recommended areas are in the Little Bay industrial area to the rear of the port, the industrial area of Brades, the upper parts of Dick Hill, Underwood and the south and eastern side of Salem around Hope, Fleming and Friths and Happy Hill.

These facilities are not to be permitted in residential areas if the impact is likely to be significant in terms of noise, odour and other disturbance.

Policy IS7 – Storage and warehousing

Land is allocated at the port facility for storage space for local exports. See Policy F2 for policy on fisherman’s storage lockers and facilities.

Policy IS8 – Restricting industry in residential areas

Manufacturing industries and commercial activities causing a significant disturbance to residents through noise, dust, fumes or traffic will not usually be permitted in or adjacent to residential areas. Such developments will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances.

6.3.12 Office Space

Policy O1 – Government Offices

Land is allocated at Brades for the continuing presence of Government Headquarters. Mixed use commercial and retail space is also allocated at Little Bay for some government buildings and offices.

Policy O2 – Commercial Offices

As Montserrat’s economy grows and opportunities for business grow based on the implementation of the economic drivers mentioned in Section 3 of the Document, demand for commercial office space will increase. It is anticipated that a proportion of this economic growth will be financial services and IT enterprises which require a high standard of office space in an attractive and vibrant location.

Land is allocated for commercial offices at Brades, Little Bay and Geralds.

Land is also allocated for mixed use residential, commercial and retail activities in each village centre. Full details are set out in Section 7 – Local Area Plans.

6.3.13 Retail Services

Policy RT1 – Central retail

Land is allocated at Brades and Little Bay for specialist retail services and consumer goods stores.

Policy RT2 – Local retail

Small scale retail outlets are encouraged in all of the village centres to meet local demand and the reduce the need to travel to buy basic items. A strategy of decentralised retail will also ensure that not all retail facilities are critically affected by disasters. Local retail outlets will be permitted subject to satisfactory access, parking and delivery arrangements.

Policy RT3 – Supermarkets and large retail stores

Proposals for supermarkets and large retail stores will generally be encouraged within the centres of Brades and Little Bay and the local settlement areas. Proposals outside the centres of Brades and Little Bay will be considered on their individual merits.

Policy RT4 – Boutique retail

Land is allocated at Little Bay in the Boulevard area for boutique shops to cater for high end outlets.

GIS figure 6.4 – retail pattern and office pattern

6.3.14     Road Transportation

Policy R1 – Balanced Development and Network Preservation

The overall strategy for road transportation is to develop the road network in a progressive manner to meet the needs of citizens, businesses and the emergency services. In the early part of the plan period efforts will concentrate on rehabilitating the A01 main road between Salem and St John’s, and opening new roads associated with other developments, such as a new route between Little Bay to the airport via Drummonds and realignment and/or protection of the Carr’s Bay road away from the beachfront where it is currently subject to erosion.

Later in the plan attention will turn to repairing and upgrading secondary roads, particularly the road from St John’s via Barzey’s to Cudjoe Head and the road from Cudjoe Head to Nixons and Banks. Probably at this time it will also be appropriate to provide new roads from Zion Hill to Tower Hill in St Peter’s, and from Virgin Island to St Peters.

A road network is a vital and very expensive national asset that must be protected to avoid wasting public money on repairs occasioned by accelerated deterioration from inadequate maintenance. Capital expenditures on upgrading and rehabilitating existing roads and on providing new roads must be matched by policy commitments to provide sufficient recurrent budget allocations for timely and adequate preventative maintenance.

Axle load limits will be imposed according to relevant legislation

Policy R2 – Road Safety

Montserrat has, by and large, a very good road safety record with thankfully very few fatalities in the past decade. But, as the population grows and economic activity increases (including tourism and new local businesses/industries) there will be many more pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular road users. Newcomers to the island, and short-term visitors in particular, will not be used to the island’s narrow roads with its steep gradients and blind bends. The upgrading of existing roads and provision of new roads will, as far as possible, provide for a safer network by improving alignments and making roadways wide enough for safe two-way traffic and pedestrian sidewalks. Pedestrian crossings with lights shall be provided where necessary.

The left-hand drive school buses pose a great danger for school children. Pick-up and drop-off points will be identified and designed for school buses to pull off the road so that school children can alight and disembark safely. These same stopping places should also be used by taxis and mini-buses.

Policy R3 – Gas Stations

The locations of the existing gas stations in lower St John’s and St Peter’s are to be preserved as strategic locations.

Land is to be allocated for a gas station as part of the Little Bay or Carr’s Bay developments

6.3.15 Air Transportation

Policy AP1 – Safeguarding land for future airport development

200 acres of land is to be safeguarded for possible future airport development at Thatch Valley and Old Quaw as indicated in Figure 6.1. This is the only option available to north Montserrat for the construction of a runway and associated infrastructure large enough to enable the operation of regional aircraft to/from Montserrat. The existing airport at Geralds can support up to Twin Otter aircraft that extend air links beyond Antigua (which is all that the Islander aircraft can achieve), but a longer runway to accept Dash-8 aircraft would allow Montserrat to be linked into the wider regional air transport network. For economic and current travel demand reasons, this is unlikely to occur during the plan period but safeguarding the land from alternative development will ensure that this option remains open.

Alternative development proposals for this area are to be assessed on a case by case basis bearing in mind the possible aviation restrictions that a new airport would impose.

6.3.16 Sea Transportation

Policy ST1 – Passenger and Cargo Facilities

The current public ferry service will be improved and a breakwater and port will be designed to accommodate the larger ferry, as well as small to medium-sized cruise ships and cargo vessels. The port area will be redesigned to ensure the safe and efficient movement of passengers and freight.

GIS figure 6.5 – proposed road links and upgrades

6.3.17 Water Supplies

Policy WS1 – Safeguarding Water Supplies and Ensuring Storage Capacity

The development of commercial and residential properties, plus maritime activities at both Little Bay and Carr’s Bay will place significant additional demand on the water supplies in these localities. Increased storage will be provided in the first part of the plan period, sufficient to meet the project needs up to 2022. Current water storage capacity in other areas is deemed adequate to meet projected demand, but this will be reviewed during the plan period in the light of actual commercial and light industrial developments in addition to increases in the number of dwellings in each area.

Appropriate consideration of adapting to effects of climate change will be taken into account in planning water infrastructure. This is to include an emphasis on watershed management and increased storage capacity.

Policy WS2 – Expanding the Water Distribution Network

Replacement of old distribution pipes will be made in a timely manner to minimise losses due to system leakages and to ensure quality of supplied water to consumers. New distribution lines will, wherever practicable, be placed alongside the roadways rather than under the road pavement in order to avoid future damage to Montserrat’s road network for which there are limited funds for reinstatement of trenchworks.

Particular attention is to be paid to the likely existence of a recharge aquifer in the mouth of the Caines and Collins River, at Carr’s Bay. Appropriate studies are to be undertaken to establish the location of the vadose zone (where salt water meets fresh water in the ground water system) and to protect the aquifer from saline intrusion, especially with respect to the development of Carr’s Bay subject to the preferred master plan option.

6.3.18 Power Supplies

Policy PS1 – Providing Reliable Power from Renewable Sources

Geothermal energy will be harnessed to provide a reliable, affordable and sustainable source of energy for producing electricity that also minimises carbon emissions.

Policy PS2 – Expanding the use of Renewable Sources

Solar panels for hot water at homes, government offices and businesses will be actively encouraged. Photovoltaic panels will be permitted, subject to being granted a license, in suitable situations to minimise the demand on mains electricity sources. Large-scale commercial solar and wind farms that feed into the grid are not envisaged during the plan period, but applications will be considered, when appropriate, with regard to location, impact on the existing power system and the economic need with respect to the geothermal operations.

6.3.19 Wastewater

Policy WW1 – Introducing wider use of Communal Systems

The existing communal systems at Lookout and Davy Hill will be upgraded within the first few years of the plan. At the same time, the developments at Little Bay and Carr’s Bay will incorporate communal systems that also cater to visiting vessels (yachts, cruise ships, etc). Elsewhere across the north of Montserrat, communal systems will be introduced where appropriate and economically viable. The management of individual septic tanks will be improved, including upgraded facilities for disposing and treating sludge.

6.3.20 Solid Waste Management

Policy SW1 –Solid Waste Management

The existing landfill facility at the New Windward Landfill Site will be retained for the safe storage of solid waste. The site will be upgraded, as far as practicable, in order to line at least part of the area to minimise leakage into the groundwater system. A cell system is likely to be introduced to provide for the separation and treatment of different waste streams. Arrangements will be made for the disposal of white goods and heavy items (old vehicles and large equipment).

Formal litter and garbage collection points shall be established in all village areas and as part of planning requirements for all new recreational and tourist developments.

Policy SW2 – Recycling and Reducing Waste to Landfill

Subject to the provisions of a formal waste management strategy, composting and recycling facilities will be provided at both the household and commercial level. The strategy should also outline provision for the safe disposal of hazardous waste.

Where appropriate, for larger scale developments, there is a presumption in favour of planning applications that can demonstrate the efficient use of construction materials and minimise construction waste to landfill and incorporate proposals for reducing, reusing and recycling waste.

6.3.21     Telecommunications

Policy TR1 – Enhanced Communications

Montserrat will be reconnected to the Caribbean regional telecommunications networks via two fibre-optic links, connecting with St Kitts and Guadeloupe. The private sector provider will roll-out G4 mobile communications across the island. Faster Internet broadband will be available to government, homes and businesses, in order to maximise Montserrat’s potential for expanding business connections worldwide, to take advantage of video-conferencing and video-educational facilities, and to improve the communications between Montserratians at home and abroad.

6.3.22 Road Names and Building Numbers

In order to allow emergency services to find properties more rapidly and to keep the options open for courier and postal services, is it necessary to ensure that every road is officially named and that all buildings along each road are numbered.

Policy RHN1 – Road Naming

All roads are to be officially named and appropriately signed.

Policy RHN2 – Numbering of Buildings

A building numbering system is to be developed for all roads across north Montserrat. This is to include all types of building use, not just residential dwellings.


6.3.23 Environment and Conservation

Policy EC1 – Silver Hills Management Area

Subject to the provisions of Policy AP1 there is a general presumption against development in the Silver Hills Area, as defined on Figure 6.1. Planning Policies RL2, RL3, RL4, TE6, TE9 and AG5 give priority in the Sliver Hills to landscape conservation and enhancement, informal recreation and eco-tourism development.

Rendezvous Beach and Bay will be safeguarded as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Access will be maintained, improved for and restricted to pedestrians only.

Policy EC2 – Centre Hills

The Centre Hills are designated Protected Forest under the Forestry, Wildlife, National Parks and Protected Areas Ordinance 2002; the key springs and water catchments within the Protected Forest are also protected under the Water Authority Act (Under Part III, 17 (1)). Within this area no development will be permitted and the area will be managed in accordance with the Approved Management for the Centre Hills, maximising opportunities for the people of Montserrat to enjoy, learn and understand the dynamics of this important area.  These opportunities will be enhanced by the provisions of Policy TE7 which permits an innovative canopy walk.

There is a general presumption against new development within a 100 metre buffer of the Centre Hills boundary north of St Peters.

Policy EC3 – Pipers Pond (Subject to Little Bay master plan revision)

It is recommended that Pipers Pond, including the adjacent southern slope of Potato Hill, shall be retained as an area of important conservation value.  Development proposals for this site will be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment which will ensure that plans restore the natural functionality of the site, thereby maximising opportunities for fish spawning and breeding; the retention of important wetland biota and providing a valuable recreational and educational resource for the people of Montserrat and the visiting tourist population. In line with the provisions of Policy F2 and the requirements of this Policy EC3, consideration may be given to integrating a small fisherman’s wharf within the Pipers Pond site so long as it can be demonstrated that the health of the mangrove is not compromised.

Policy EC4 – Ghauts

It is recommended that all ghauts shown in Figure 2.2 are designated Conservation Areas under the Forestry, Wildlife, National Protected Areas Ordinance (Updated 2002). Conservation plans should be prepared jointly by the Department of Environment, Physical Planning Unit, Lands and Surveys and Public Works Department for each ghaut in a phased programme commencing with those most affected by extreme weather events and those of greatest environmental value and sensitivity. The designation process will be undertaken collaboratively with land-land owners, respecting their rights and emphasising their responsibility. The conservation plans will demarcate a unique buffer zone for each ghaut in which development will be restricted.

Policy EC5 – Green Buffers

Notwithstanding the recommendations of Policy EC4 there is a general presumption against development in the green buffer zones indicated in Figure 6.1.  Maintaining these green arteries will play a critical role in preserving the unique character of the Montserratian landscape in manner consistent with Policy TE9. In addition, by preventing de-vegetation in these areas and maintaining important natural water catchments this policy also forms part of wider national response to disaster risk reduction.

Policy EC6 – Northern Foothills of the Centre Hills

The northern foothills of the Centre Hills provide valuable habitat for the critically endangered and endemic plants, Epidendrum Montserratense (Montserrat Orchid) and Rondeleetia Buxifolia (Pribby) and approximately 75 restricted range species.  Development in these areas (as marked on Figure 2.2) shall not be approved until a site survey has been undertaken by the Department of Environment; plants will either be transplanted or protected in-situ.

Policy EC7 – East Coast Area

Development proposals which impinge on important areas of dry forest habitat south of the Blakes Estate on the East Coast, must include a commitment to maintaining at least 50 percent of the existing vegetative cover in contiguous blocks and must adhere to international best practice with respect to sustainable green building design.

Policy EC8 – Historic Sites

Sites of historic interest are to be protected and restored wherever possible by the public or private sectors for tourist and educational use.  It is proposed that the National Trust lead in the development of an updated Statutory List of heritage buildings and sites as a base reference for a programme of restoration, conservation and tourist development. The list will support the implementation of the requirements of the Physical Planning Act (2002).

Policy EC9 – Heritage Trails, Plaques and Signage

In line with the provision of Policy TE10 and EC5, the National Trust will lead in the development of a network of heritage trails in each of the main villages to encourage people to recognise the better points of vernacular architecture and the social history they embody. Historically important buildings shall be marked with a plaque (the National Trust to suggest the first tranche of sights).

Download National Land Use Policy here.


3 Responses

  1. Capt. John
    Capt. John 24/11/2011 at 11:13 pm |

    Section 6.3.18…. Power Supplies ..
    PS 1_ Providing Reliable Power from Renewable..
    Basically.. I was shocked to see exactly 2 lines….23 words, discussing Geothermal!!!?????
    PS2- Expanding the use of Renewable Sources… 8 Lines???

    Now Geothermal is the ONLY Power Source!!!.. Thing!!.. That can bolster Montserrat’s economy into the next millennium, Financially; Economically; by Creating Industrial Development; Jobs; Financial Energy Savings for the Montserrat Population..
    YET!!!! this Land Use & Physical Development Paper/Plan, has NOT highlighted this major need!! WHY???
    If we don’t get this Geothermal into the fore front of Development, we will be doomed to failure, as No Five Star Hotel or Industry will come to our shores to develop anything!!, with the present high cost of Electricity Generated by fossil fuel, on Montserrat!!
    A comment was made by a reader in The Reporter Newspaper, suggested that the Montserrat Government allow a large Hotel or Industry that comes to Montserrat, to purchase a Binary Module and add it to the Planned Geothermal power plant, and they receive free electricity!! after a set amount of time, the Montserrat Government could pay them for their module.. (Instead of a Tax Holiday as is presently given)..
    With a Binary type of Geothermal Power Plant, modules can be added as our Energy needs increase, with NO DOWN TIME!! (No need for standby Fossil Fuel Powered Engines)
    A Geothermal Power Generation Plant is what the Montserrat Government should do with the $36,000,000.00 Million that it got from Britain and the CDB..
    Montserrat will be a model environmental green island, because we could almost STOP using ALL Fossil Fuels, as EVERY HOUSEHOLD, COULD HAVE AN ELECTRIC STOVE, no more worries about the price of cooking gas going up, or running out of gas..
    The Supermarkets could build large freezers, and buy their frozen products in bulk, making it cheaper for their customers..
    Vehicles could be converted to run on Electricity; or Hydrogen generated by cheap electricity..
    Silicon sand from the Volcano could be converted to Silicon Chips; or Glass, a multimillion dollar industry!!
    If after Montserrat starts off with a 5 Mega watt and a large company wants to come to Montserrat, to construct a large Geothermal Plant, to sell electricity to neighboring Islands, We could install a Telecommunications cable on that underwater power line, to cause Montserrat to become a Mega Communications ICT Hub..
    There are so many other things that could be done with cheap electricity generated from Geothermal!!..
    Yet this Policy Plan (I repeat) is given just 2 lines or 23 words??
    My I ask is this planned this way, so that Britain will GIVE the generating of Geothermal to a Foreign Company!!??
    When ever the possibility Geothermal power development is discussed, in Parliament or in Public, it is belittled or the subject is tactfully CHANGED or sent aside!!????

  2. Andreas
    Andreas 28/11/2011 at 2:05 pm |

    Hi Capt. John,

    The PDP team fully agrees that geothermal will be an incredible development tool for Montserrat, if implemented and managed in the right way. We have recognised this by stating that it is one of the primary economic drivers that will drive Montserrat’s growth in the coming years (See page 41 in Section 3 – Planning Parameters). Without geothermal being implemented our economic growth and thus population projections are much lower than the currently projected 10,000 inhabitants by 2022.

    However, the PDP document can only go so far as to set it out as a planning assumption that geothermal will be operational perhaps by 2015 (see Planning Assumptions in Appendix C) and to state it as a key infrastructure policy (PS1 on page104). We have gone into more detail on PS2 – Renewable sources because there is more detail that is useful at this level, and other renewable options must be considered if geothermal fails. However, the number of words dedicated to this doesn’t mean it’s considered more important.

    There is also more detail on geothermal in the Infrastructure Plan 2012-2022 (not available for review) which goes further into estimated costs and potential location of boreholes and plant (Devlins and south side of Garibaldi Hill)

    It is the work of other GOM departments (notably the Development Unit) as well as DFID, to drive this forward and to make geothermal a reality which I believe is what is slowly happening.


    CIVIL SERVANT 29/11/2011 at 6:03 pm |

    Climate Change

    Any developing small island state should always consider the impending impacts of climate change. Would like to more on the plans to mitigate; i.e. ways we can move forward in reducing fossil fuel emmisions and also adapt; i.e. Encouraging the use of soft engineering to prevent inland flooding and land slides.
    Some how the energy policy that current exists should be incorporated into this plan.
    I know there was mention of making the roads wider, however the width of the roads currently under construction seem to be the same with a curb and side walk added.
    When will the Government release its “indecisive” grip on the Little Bay development and allow the general public take ownership of the area and its development. Granted it may not be the “sterile” town as envisaged, but then again that is not what a town should be. Open it up!! Lets start building!!


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