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Planning Unit orders Belair man to move roadside stall

Planning Unit orders Belair man to move roadside stall

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Belair resident Benjamin Forbes is adamant that he would not be demolishing his business, despite receiving a letter from the Planning Unit giving him seven days to do so.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday at his vegetable stall in Belair, Forbes stated that he had received the letter from a young lady {{more}}whom he left to run his business, while he went to the mountain.

“I went mountain do some work…I leave some girl here to run the business for me. They say ‘Planning drop off a letter’. I went up and I laughed and I kept walking. They say boy ‘yea, they drop off a letter here; Planning just come here say you have to move from here’,” he said.

The 30-year-old farmer noted that after receiving the letter he went to the Planning Unit to see if the matter could be rectified.

“I went down town in the evening to check them. So, the guy tell me…he say oh well, I gotta move my thing …what I have here. I say ‘what you mean I have to move?’ He say I dey too close to the road and if I have to build something like this I need planning.

“I say ‘how I going need planning for a little shop like this where I selling fruits, vegetables and stuff like that?’” Forbes continued.

He added that he was told that he would have to take his shop back 15 feet, despite him telling them he was given permission by the owner of the land, his uncle, to erect the structure.

“I asking him for a reason and he ain’t giving me a reason. He ain’t saying if is because of this, because of that, or whether or such. They just bring the letter, bap, drop and say if I ain’t move it in seven days I got to pay $20 000… I hardly making $100; where I going get $20 000?” the distraught man said.

However, Forbes is standing firm that he would not be moving his stall and that he was prepared to fight.

When SEARCHLIGHT visited his stall, there were several visible placards, some just plainly saying ‘Justice’, while others were posed questions to the Planning Unit.

“This is the only plan I have for right now. I done check for jobs in certain places and nobody hiring anybody right now. I am self-employed, doing my little farming and different things, I have animals that I am rearing.”

And, Forbes is not alone. Many residents of the area are supporting him and ready to stand behind him in his fight.

One resident told SEARCHLIGHT that because of his stall she is able to make a living and provide for her family.

“I think is a good step he take to clean up the block, because me myself I does come here and even make a dollar too,” she stated.

Additionally, she pointed out that because of the proximity of his business, residents would save money by being able to walk to the stall and purchase their goods.

Another resident, Lee Bullock, observed that since Forbes opened his stall, the community has become more active, and he has created another market for residents to purchase their produce.

“That corner is normally a lonely area, so I am happy to people liming out there, so nothing could really happen to anybody out there,” he explained.

Moreover, he pointed out that the business is a way for Forbes to generate income and ‘make his way out of poverty’.

“The guy is trying to make his way out of poverty by doing something constructive and as soon as they see that they cast it aside and say he wrong, it’s too close to the road. What I think they should do is allow the guy to do his thing; he is not in anybody way… simple.”

While speaking to an employee of the Planning Unit, SEARCHLIGHT was told that despite being given oral permission, Forbes would need to bring a letter to Unit indicating that he had in fact received permission from the owner to erect the structure.

Additionally, he stated that the Planning Unit does, in fact, have the power to ask him to push his structure back, if it is next to a major highway.

Another employee noted that if Forbes refuses to remove the structure within the given period they “would get a demolition team and go and demolish it.”

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