Chief town planner Mark Cummins has called for “greater discussion” about incentives to help owners maintain significant listed buildings.
Under the Town and Country Planning Act, provision is made for a list of buildings of special architectural or historical interest and for building preservation orders.
In a wide-ranging interview with the BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY, Cummins noted that if Barbados and the relevant authorities continued to see these structures as having added economic value and benefits, incentivized ownership must be seen as an option to be explored.
“Back in the ’80s there was a fund for [people] who owned listed buildings to carry out certain minor repairs.
“I don’t think that is a particular function of the planning legislation, but a number of agencies must collaborate to come up with a series of incentives to help owners of listed buildings, not only to maintain them because maintenance and restoration are critical,” Cummins said.
“There has to be greater discussion between a number of agencies, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Culture, the Town and Country Planning Department, maybe the Barbados National Trust and the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry . . . . A strategy (has to be) found to deal with that because the owners of listed buildings have clearly indicated that maintenance is a challenge.”
Meantime the Chief Town Planner has revealed plans to re-categorize listed buildings on the island.
“Back then the entire building was listed. What we at the Town Planning Department are seeking to do. and we are working with a number of stakeholders on this, is to have a categorization of listed buildings, whether it is a category one, two, or three,” Cummins explained.
“For example, under category three there might be specific features of your building that you will need to maintain while in other places you may need to make some changes, remembering that those modification would still have to be in harmony with what is already existing,” he explained.
“In this regard, we have to embark on a serious educational drive because we have recently had situations where listed buildings have changed hands and the new owners were unaware of their [building’s] status,” Cummins said.