Chief Town Planner: No building ban in effect
Thu, 11/10/2016 - 12:00am
The inclusion of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list does not prohibit development from taking place in that area.
That’s the word from Chief Town Planner, Mark Cummins, who as he spoke to members of the media yesterday in the boardroom of the Town and Country Development Planning Office, suggested that persons need not be worried about any development that is approved for the area.
He explained that the existing Physical Development Plan plays a major part in making any such decision.
“As I tell people all the time, this current Physical Development Plan that we now use, which was amended in 2003 and you can see some of the maps around here, that plan had set out what was required for world heritage
status. We got world heritage status in 2011, which means that the planning that would have been put in place was there to support world heritage.
He was speaking as he responded to a question from the media regarding concerns from some quarters in the society that if the application made for the construction of the multi-storey Hyatt Hotel in Bay Street is approved, the country could lose its UNESCO World Heritage designation. Cummins, making it clear that his response was a general one and was not being made in relation to any project, noted that the Bay Street corridor all the way up to the Hilton Hotel at Needham’s Point, has been designated predominately for tourism purposes, but he said “it is how it fits in within the landscape”.
The Chief Town Planner’s remarks came as he also explained to the journalists present, that the decision regarding the Hyatt Hotel is not his to make, but in fact the Minister responsible for Planning, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
“Since 1986 the Town Planning Order was amended which gives the Minister responsible for Planning, which in this particular instance is the Prime Minister, the authority to grant planning permission for beachfront development and agricultural land in excess of two acres… The law says the Chief Town Planner shall refer the application for the decision to the Minister. We make an assessment and we send it down. In the case of the Hyatt that is what is referred to as a Section 18 referral, which is Section 18 under the Town Planning Act,” he said.
Cummins added, “The applicant then has a hearing. There is a group of panellists and the administrative personnel at the Ministry would select one of those panellists, or in some cases two, who would hear the matter, where the planning agency and all the other agencies with whom we would have consulted would go and state our case, and the applicant would go and state his case. Then that panellist submits a report to the Minister.”
The Chief Town Planner says he understands that report has already been submitted. (JRT)