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Darliston Residents Welcome Housing Project

Darliston Residents Welcome Housing Project
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), is greeted by residents of Darliston, Westmoreland, when he visited the community on Friday (March 10) to break ground for a housing development in the area.
(Media Credit: Marlon Tingling)

KINGSTON (JIS) -- Residents of Darliston and surrounding communities in Eastern Westmoreland have welcomed plans for a new housing development in the area, for which Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness broke ground on Friday (March 10). The project, which is being undertaken by the National Housing Trust (NHT) at a cost of $95.4 million, will see 32 serviced lots being established, along with space for commercial, social and community activities. The lots, which are just over 6,000 square feet in size, are geared towards middle- and low-income contributors to the NHT. The project is set for completion by August 2017. “I think the development is a good idea,” said resident Sharona Thomas. “I think that apart from allowing persons to get houses, the project will bring a certain level of economic boom to the area with persons being employed during and even after construction,” she noted.

Leodon Cummings, a farmer from the nearby Dillion Bigwoods community, also noted the prospect for employment of young people. “We welcome the project and hope to see more in the future,” he said.

Victor Cummings also welcomed the housing project, noting that it will spur business and infrastructure development in Darliston. “People will get jobs while commercial activities in Darliston will grow and farmers will get their goods sold,” he pointed out.

Errol Harvey agreed, noting that Darliston has many possibilities for development as there is a great deal land space. “I hope to see more projects in the future, as it will bring a much-needed economic boost to the community,” he says.

Renford Bygrave, who has been living in Darliston for more than 60 years, believes that the project “will put the community firmly on the map”.

The Prime Minister said the Darliston housing project forms part of the orderly development plan for the Westmoreland town and will be implemented under strict conditions.

“One of the things I always stressed is that the lots have to come with some pre-approved designs with the parameters as to what you can build on them. We don’t want to… make the investment and then people take the residential lots and turn them into garages and funeral parlors. When you buy your residential house, you must be able to live… and secure the value of that property to pass on to your children,” he pointed out.

Mr. Holness informed that he has given direct instructions to the NHT that the houses must be sold with specific covenants on the lots and the entity “must take a proactive role in ensuring that the lots remain according to how they were sold”

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Eastern Westmoreland in which Darliston falls, Luther Buchanan, expressed the hope that the project will attract major financial and commercial entities as well as help to stop the brain drain that has been affecting the area.

“No young doctor would want to live in a town with his young family… and have to drive miles to a bank. I am very excited about the project… I am elated,” he said.