Guide to Docks and Other Coastal Development

The construction or placement of docks, including floating docks which are attached to the foreshore, as well as other development which extends beyond the mean high water mark, requires both planning permission and a building permit from the Department of Planning prior to their installation.

Given that all parts of the seabed which lie below the mean high water mark are owned by the Crown (i.e. the ‘Queen’s Bottom’), a foreshore lease must also been obtained from the Estates section of the Ministry of Public Works for any structure or apparatus which affects the seabed.

This guidance note sets out the procedure for obtaining all requisite consents, namely:

1. Pre-Consultations
2. Planning Permission
3. Foreshore Lease
4. Building Permit

Pre-Consultations

Prior to submitting a planning application, a completed Foreshore Lease Application Form together with a copy of the drawings to be submitted with the planning application must be submitted to the Estates section at estates@gov.bm. A planning application cannot be submitted until the Estates section has confirmed, in writing, that it is aware of the proposal. A response will typically be issued within 5 business days.

If a foreshore lease is currently in place, a copy of this together with written confirmation from the Estates section that it is aware of the current proposal should be included with the planning application.

It is also strongly recommended that pre-consultations be sent to the Marine Conservation section of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, who will provide feedback on potential impacts on the marine environment, including whether any protected species may be affected, and the Marine and Ports section of the Ministry of Public Works, who will advise on impacts to marine traffic.

Foreshore development should be designed in accordance with the relevant policies of the Bermuda Plan 2018, in particular those set out in Chapter 11.

Planning Permission

An application for planning permission for any development which affects the seabed beyond the mean high water mark will be rejected unless the application includes written acknowledgement from the Estates section confirming that it is aware of the proposal for which planning permission is being sought. In addition to such confirmation, the planning application must include all relevant information as detailed in the Guide to Submitting Planning Applications together with details of any pre-consultation responses which have been received.

Planning applications are assessed against the relevant policies of the Bermuda Plan 2018 and, unless such consultation responses are included in the planning application, the Department of Planning will consult the Marine Resources Board and the Marine and Ports section on all applications which propose development beyond the high water mark.

Planning permission for foreshore development will typically include a condition requiring a foreshore lease agreement to be included with the building permit application.

Foreshore Lease

Prior to submitting a building permit, a foreshore lease agreement with the Estates section of the Ministry of Public Works must be in place. This agreement will typically require the leaseholder to seek and obtain statutory consents, including a building permit. The particulars of the lease agreement, including its commencement and lease costs, will be determined by Estates on a case by case basis and will ultimately require the approval of the Minister of Public Works.

Building Permit

If planning permission is granted, a building permit application can then be submitted via the Department of Planning’s Customer Self Service portal. However, a building permit for any development which affects the seabed beyond the mean high water mark will be rejected unless the application includes an executed foreshore lease agreement with the Estates section of the Ministry of Public Works.

Building permit applications are assessed against the relevant Building Code, which can be found here. The building permit will be issued once all relevant drawings, specifications and associated documentation has been submitted to an appropriate degree of accuracy, which will allow construction to commence. Once the development has been completed, a request must be made for the issuance of a Certificate of Completion and Occupancy.

Letters of objection and/or representation should be emailed to planningfrontdesk@gov.bm referencing the PLAN or SUB number in the subject line.

Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building, 5th Floor, 58 Court Street Hamilton, HM12, Bermuda

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