4M Harbour Island Limited yesterday had a judicial review against it dismissed, with costs to be borne by applicants Benjamin Simmons and Br-Island Responsible Development Limited (BIRD), Guardian Business understands.
This latest court win for the embattled Harbour Island development is significant, given that the project has lost momentum because of several judicial reviews and injunctions, and the ongoing controversy has divided the island’s residents.
Simmons and BIRD submitted the latest judicial review after a judge decided last October that the Town Planning Committee (TPC) was not the body authorized to approve 4M’s project based on the parameters of the Planning and Subdivision Act (PSA), which calls for approvals for projects on Harbour Island to be carried out by the Harbour Island District Council.
The ruling was delivered by Justice Diane Stewart, who found that language in the PSA, or lack thereof, meant that TPC should not have been the body to supply the approvals for 4M’s project. During the case, both TPC and 4M, which were the respondent party and interested party respectively in the case, conceded the point that the mistake was made due to a misunderstanding of the law, though the applicants in the case, Benjamin Simmons and BIRD, sought to contend that the PSA did apply to Harbour Island and the development.
The judge’s order quashed the approvals given by TPC and required 4M to seek approvals from the Harbour Island District Council. The council then approved the project.
However, Simmon’s and BIRD’s most recent judicial review sought not only to have that decision set aside, but also sought to quash 4M’s building permits, the former judge’s findings, reverse the award of cost of the initial judicial review from Simmons and BIRD to 4M and award cost to the applicant.
In response to the court decision, attorney Gail lockhart Charles, who represents Benjamin Simmons and Br-Island Responsible Development Limited, said that the Court of Appeal ruling was simply the refusal by the court to hear an application seeking to challenge an aspect of the November 2019 ruling of Justice Diane Stewart in the judicial review proceedings that resulted in the court’s quashing of the permits obtained by 4M last year.