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Town Planning eyeing unused lots


GERCINE CARTER

Town Planning eyeing unused lots

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12 MIDNIGHT UPDATE – Barbados can no longer afford to have approved residential lots of land remaining vacant indefinitely, says Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins – considering the heavy demand for residential land.
Cummins told the Sunday Sun the time had come when the planning authorities in their advisory capacity to the Government needed to take a serious look at the situation and ask themselves “whether we can continue to subdivide land as we have been doing, creating residential lots which remain vacant in excess of ten, 20, 30 years”.
With an emphatic “no”, the Chief Town Planner argued it was not a sustainable practice “because what that does is that while you have a large volume of vacant lots, you still have a shortage of lots for persons who want to build”.
He acknowledged, however, that while the lots were vacant because they did not have structures, they did have owners who were “obviously not ready to sell”.
 Citing as an example the Union Development in St Philip for which approval for subdivision had been granted in 1972, he said that 38 years later about 35 per cent of those lots were still vacant. These are included in the roughly 15 000 to 20 000 such vacant lots in Barbados.
Cummins said there were jurisdictions where people were given a specific period covering when the lot was created and when a house had to be completed.
He added the matter would be discussed as his department prepared over the next three years to make recommendations for amendments to the Physical Development Plan – which usually covers five years.
“When we start that process, looking at the manner in which we allow for the subdivision of land is something that will definitely be one of our focal points,” Cummins said.
Meanwhile plans are moving ahead for the development of the area from St David’s in Christ Church to Six Roads in St Philip, identified by the Chief Town Planner as “the fastest growing corridor in Barbados, not only in population but in other activities”.
Cummins said there would be a need for social facilities, and disclosed the Government had plans for a municipal centre at Six Roads which would take care of the police, fire station and other services for St Philip.

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