New Regulations to include stiff fines for builders contravening the Planning Act

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Chief Physical Planner, Mr. Gregory Adams informed members of the House of Assembly that the Town and Country Planning Department will, in the not too distant future, be ticketing builders who contravene the Planning Act. He announced that the ticketing will mainly apply to those who excavate sites without approval.

The Chief Planner pointed out that the Department has the power within the Planning Act to issue fines, but he said that unfortunately a conviction in the court was required before the fines were deemed payable.

Mr. Adams’ statement in the Standing Finance Committee was in response to queries that were made by Premier, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith as to whether there was anything that could be done in relation to the problem.

Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool was also concerned about the issue of undermining and questioned whether persons could be penalized for excavating without approval. The Minister stated that he was enquiring because requests for huge walls were increasing and he noted that something needed to be done as it was becoming a very costly matter.

In response the Chief Planner agreed that the issue of undermining was indeed a big problem and he mentioned that he made two site visits with the Disaster Management and noted the seriousness.

Mr. Adams explained that the problem arises when individuals build homes that are too big for the lots.  He said that the Department requested site profiles when processing applications to show what the site should look like after it was excavated but, many times the Department receives very sketchy information, and has to make judgment calls as to whether or not they are appropriate.

However, Mr. Adams stated that through the Caribbean Development loan programme his Department has been working on the Regulations that are needed to be introduced. He said that he has met with a consultant and recommended on-the-spot ticketing schemes where fines would have to be paid on the spot. The on-site ticketing, Mr. Adams said would hopefully deter some of the illegal activities.

The Chief Planner further disclosed that he hoped to have the revised Regulations completed in the next three months so that the amendments could be forwarded to Cabinet for approval.

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