Laguna land legitimate, says spokesman

CHERNG TALAY: The management of Laguna Phuket is confident that no part of the complex has been built on designated public land but will accept a ruling from the courts, a senior executive said today. The comments from Niyom Tassaneetipagorn, Assistant Vice President of Laguna Resorts & Hotels Public Co, were the first from the group since the legitimacy of a number of structures at Bang Tao was called into question by a local government committee last month. After a two-month search of public records and titles by a working party, the Committee on Interior Administration reported that there were indications that some permanent structures on Bang Tao Beach are illegal. The Tambon Cherng Talay Administration Organization (OrBorTor) is now pursuing the matter. Among the claims is one that part of the swimming pool of Laguna Beach Resort and part of the garden of the Banyan Tree Hotel are on public land. K. Niyom said, “If the OrBorTor Cherng Talay and the courts can prove that the Laguna Beach Resort’s swimming pool or other parts of the complex are on public land, Laguna Phuket is willing to accept such a ruling. We believe that we must do the right thing.” But he added that management at Laguna Phuket did not believe it had transgressed. “When we first bought this land, we bought it because it has a title deed which was certified by government,” K. Niyom said. “If we had suspected that this land was issued with illegal title deeds or that it was public land, we wouldn’t have bought it. “It doesn’t make sense for us to do any kind of business involving land that does not belong to us.” Khantee Srilapa, Chief Officer of Thalang District, told the Gazette that the Cherng Talay OrBorTor had received 5 million baht from the Government so the local public works office could carry out a cadastral survey on an area of 179 rai of Bang Tao Beach to distinguish public lands, public road and private lands. “Once we can distinguish public lands and private lands, those public lands will be registered with the OrBorTor Cherng Talay,” he said. Laguna was involved in a dispute over 63 plots. The OrBorTor is also notifying restaurants that have allegedly been trespassing on public land along Bang Tao Beach to remove constructions. However, at least one restaurateur says he has been at the spot for 15 years and has a legitimate title. Pricha Pitanon, a member of the Committee on Interior Administration, heads the Governmental Land Inspection Working Group that reported the conclusion of the cadastral survey on April 29. K. Pricha and his team found that most public lands around Bang Tao Beach had not been encroached upon but some land and roads had been eroded by sea water. Individuals, including local residents, had constructed permanent buildings such as hotels, restaurants, tour counters and tailor shops on public land, the report said. K. Khantee said the investigation into illegal titles would continue and at its conclusion a report would be sent to Cabinet for further proceedings. One proposal was for the OrBorTor to provide the beach restaurants with land elsewhere close to Bang Tao Beach but no specific site has been suggested.

Phuket News

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