George Browne, deputy chief town planner at Barbados Town and County Planning Office, Saint Michael, talks about his work and the issues facing the area.
Supervising a team of 12, I have responsibility for the management of planning enforcement and, research and policy formation. On a day-to-day basis I prepare development briefs, development control guidelines, assist with the preparation of strategic plans, carry out enforcement action and refer planning matters, as required, to the Solicitor General and Director of Public Prosecution. I work with the chief town planner, who is responsible for ensuring orderly and progressive development of the island.
For the purpose of planning the island is divided into five geographical areas. The planning system, based on the UK Town and Country Planning Act 1947, is integrated, multidisciplinary and involves consultation with the general public, private and public stakeholders. However, there is scope for greater stakeholder participation and establishing planning units within all government ministries involved in consultations about planning applications would improve outcomes. We also need to work towards increasing the number of planning applications submitted electronically.
Although the island has a reputation for being a tropical paradise, it is not without its problems. We cannot satisfy the demand for housing, there is traffic congestion on the main arteries leading into Bridgetown (the UNESCO World Heritage capital city) and we have an ongoing challenge of managing competing land uses on an island with limited land resources.
The risks of a tsunami and climate change are major issues which need greater public awareness. The majority of the 272,000 people who live on this small Caribbean island here live within one kilometre of the coast.
* This article was first published in the December 2015 issue of The Planner
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