It should be obvious to BU readers that there are some pillar issues which we write about repeatedly. We believe that our continued focus might just be enough to create much needed change. One of the pillar issues is the role of Town Planning department to ensure that Barbados efficiently develops its physical infrastructure to the benefit of current and future generations. As we move around Barbados, our layman’s observation suggests that Barbados is being developed in a very ad hoc manner. For example, our view of the sea is being suffocated; chemical plants are being built in large residential districts; office buildings are being built in congested areas; land use is being changed based on economic and political considerations with environmental factors lagging far behind. Check it out with a critical eye the next time you move around Barbados. The lack of planning is more apparent if you have traveled to developed countries. We make the point about developed countries, because it appears to be the latest political buzz with a general election imminent, and we hear our government politicos trying to attain developed nation status in quick order.
According to the Town and Country Planning Statute CAP 240, the matters which come under the ambit of the Town Planning office are many and varied:
- Preparation of development plans.
- Contents of development plans.
- Development plan relating to part of Barbados.
- Consultation by Chief Town Planner with certain persons or bodies.
- Approval of development plans.
- Notice of approval by Minister and date of operation of development
- Amendment of development plans.
- Modification of development plans in relation to land designated as subject to compulsory acquisition.
- Duration of planning permission.
- Duration of outline planning permission.
- Termination of planning permission.
- Effect of certain failure to develop.
- Power to serve enforcement notices.
- Meaning of “development”.
- Development requiring planning permission.
- Development orders.
- Determination of applications for planning permission.
- Supplementary provisions as to applications for planning permission.
- Reference of planning applications to Minister
- Reference of planning decisions for review by Minister.
- Appeal in default of planning decisions.
- Applications to determine whether planning permission required.
- Permission to retain buildings or works or continue use of land.
- Supplementary provisions as to effect of planning permission.
- Revocation or modification of planning permission.
- Orders requiring discontinuance of use or alteration or removal of buildings or works.
- Proper maintenance of waste land.
- Tree preservation orders.
- Building preservation orders.
- List of buildings of special architectural or historic interest.
- Effect of inclusion of a building in a list under section 29.
- Control of advertisements.
- Supplementary provisions as to advertisements.
- Applications for permission to retain development or continue use after service of enforcement notice.
- Appeal to Judge in chambers against enforcement notice.
- Penalties for non-compliance with enforcement notices.
- Execution by Chief Town Planner of work required by enforcement notice.
- Supplementary provisions as to enforcement notices.
- Saving of existing uses.
- Enforcement notice to have effect against subsequent development.
- Revocation of enforcement notice.
- Stop notices.
- Compensation for loss due to stop notice.
- Penalty for noncompliance with notice under section 26.
- Appeal to Judge in chambers against notice under section 26.
- Execution by Chief Town Planner of work required by notice under section 26.
- Supplementary provisions as to notices under section 26.
- Notice to enforce control under section 30.
- Appeal to Judge in chambers against notice under section 45.
- Execution by Chief Town Planner of work required by notice under section 45.
- Supplementary provisions as to notices under section 45.
- Penalty for contravening orders under section 25.
- Acquisition of land.
- Appropriation of land of statutory boards.
- Disposal of land.
- Power to modify provisions of Land Acquisition Act.
- Compensation for Refusal or Conditional Grant of Planning Permission
- Definitions of expressions for purposes of Part VII.
- Right to compensation for planning decisions.
- No compensation payable in certain cases.
- No compensation if other development permitted.
- General provisions as to claims for compensation.
- Review of planning decisions where compensation claimed.
- Acquisition of land in lieu of compensation.
- Compensation where planning permission revoked or modified.
- Application of section 61 to special cases of refusal or conditional grant of planning permission.
- Compensation in respect of orders under section 25.
- Compensation in respect of tree and building preservation orders.
- Compensation for restrictions on advertising.
- General provisions as to compensation for depreciation under Part VIII.
- Determination of claims for compensation.
- Application of section 60 for purpose of acquisition of land in lieu of compensation.
- Validity of development plans, certain orders, decisions and directions.
- Validity of enforcement notices and similar notices.
- Proceedings for questioning validity of development plans.
- Proceedings for questioning validity of certain orders, decisions and directions.
With a very limited staff located at the Garrison Savannah, St. Michael, it should be evident to Barbadians that the Town Planning department is undermanned and there is a lack of expertise. This is a sorry state occurring against the background of a booming construction sector in Barbados, which has been responsible for triggering a significant amount of our economic activity in recent years. Our concern has been also heightened after the Britton’s Hill tragedy when Town Planning gave permission to construct a building on top of a cave. More of concern should be the ease with which the political directorate is able to change land use policy. The touted Building Code and Building Authority are much needed!
On the subject of Town Planning permissions, BU like many Barbadians are aware of the ease with which Haloute got a building permit to construct Chefette restaurant at Wildey. It is known that giving permission to build a fast food restaurant on that busy street violated every planning code. Yet, he got it. How is it that the original classification of his application was so easily changed from a warehouse to a restaurant? There are many instances of land use changes, which merits questions being asked. The most famous in recent times must be the change in land use on the West Coast, when a water zone area was changed to allow for development of land owned by a close friend of the PM.
Here again, we have placed an important government department, which is required to function at a very high level to facilitate a strategic approach to our physical development, under the microscope. The finite land space of our 166 square mile limestone island calls for astute planning.
Other BU Stories
A Clear Danger-Where Is The Town Planner
A Clear Danger-Where Is The Town Planner Part II
Looks Like “Big Business” Is Joining Ranks Against The Chefette Victim~A Case For The Minister Of Consumer Affairs Senator Lynette Eastmond To Intervene!
Chefette Restaurant Needs To Be More Customer Friendly
Chefette Restaurant Continues To Profit Because Of The Stupidity Of Successive Governments