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Manchester political leaders press for more development

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND
Observer staff reporter
sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, April 22, 2019

MANDEVILLE, Manchester - At least two political leaders in Manchester believe that more housing developments are needed in the parish, especially given the town's growth as a major educational hub.

Some are even campaigning to have Mandeville officially declared a “University Town”, because of the number of educational institutions currently located there.

At present, the Seventh-day Adventist-operated Northern Caribbean University (NCU) has its main campus just outside the town of Mandeville, and there are other educational institutions including Knox Community College, Catholic College of Mandeville and Church Teachers' College (CTC).

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has an open campus in Mandeville and there is also a branch of the International University of the Caribbean (IUC).

Peter Bunting, Manchester Central Member of Parliament, made the call earlier this month for more housing solutions while speaking at a ground-breaking ceremony by the National Housing Trust (NHT) for the expansion of the Perth Estate Housing Development.

“The mayor (mayor of Mandeville — Donovan Mitchell) has reminded me that there are lots of other lands available for other NHT schemes in Manchester and (Manchester central) in particular. We are growing; we are an educational hub for Central Jamaica. There is great demand,” he said.

Bunting further stated that Manchester Central is a very large constituency with almost 40,000 people on the voters list.

“I encourage the NHT, don't stop with this one. There are other opportunities. When you solve the water problem here (Perth Estate), you can just extend that line a little further and help some of the adjacent communities,” he said.

A lack of consistent water supply has been a great impediment to the development in Mandeville and the surrounding areas.

Residents who purchased lots and put up homes at the existing phase of Perth Estate, which was officially opened in 2013, still have no access to potable water.

The Member of Parliament used the recent ground-breaking ceremony to reinforce the urgency for the commodity.

The expansion at Perth Estate sees 118 new housing solutions, including homes and lots, on over 40 acres of land at a total cost of $1.06 billion.

Martin Miller, managing director of the NHT, said that since Perth Estate was approved in 2012 and the subsequent opening, it is the first they are back in the parish for a development.

He said, however, that many residents are still benefitting from the organisation's services to build and improve their homes, for example, receiving funding to build on their own lands.

Miller said that the NHT is working on ways to drive down the cost of housing.