Lashley: No more add-ons

Thousands of tenants living in Government housing estates across Barbados who have more than 1,200 “illegal” extensions on their homes are a step closer to owning them despite the property additions.

But Minister of Housing and Lands Michael Lashley is urging these National Housing Corporation tenants to “desist” from building new add-ons, several of which are to facilitate small businesses.

He said to help resolve the problem in future, Government would be including commercial spaces in its projects.

The St. Philip North MP was speaking in the House of Assembly today while piloting debate on the National Housing Corporation (Transfer of Terrace Units) Act, which will allow individuals living in NHC units for at least 20 years to own them.

Lashley said the illegal extensions to a lesser extent were the primary challenge that had prevented a number of people from receiving certificates of compliance from the chief town planner and, more importantly, their conveyances.

The minister opined that under a two-phase programme Government made 2,497 offers to long-standing NHC tenants and that 2,349 people had accepted.

He said, however, that the extensions had been a major headache, something the new legislation would remedy.

Of the more than 1,218 extensions he listed, the largest number, 299, were in Pinelands.

Others included Lammings (four), the Ivy (31), Haynseville (67), Bonnetts (39), Deacons Farm (132), Eden Lodge (81), Ferniehurst (49), Golden Acre (20), Grazettes (113), Silver Hill (62), Maynards (27), Pleasant Hall (34), Sayers Court (four), Wotton (14), Wildey (165), Church Village (two), Bayville (seven), Gall Hill (43), Rosemont (six), Bagatelle (19). There were also 52 property encroachments.

“Those are the challenges that we are faced with. We send some officers out in the field … and some estates when the officers go to those estates they meet resistance and it’s not out of those persons living in the estates that they are of a particular kind, it is not that, they want to protect what they have invested in,” Lashley said.

The extensions included barber shops, bars, grocery and bar fronts, kitchens, dining rooms, garages, store rooms, patios, and bedrooms.

The official said the current administration was sympathetic to the individuals making such extensions, but would not encourage it.

“I want to make a call to those tenants living out there to desist,” he urged.

“In addition, in estates that we are constructing we will have to provide, like similar to London Bourne Towers, a section or make sure that there is enough land space that we can create an area for small businesses.

“We have set aside piece of property in Country Park Towers.

“We are going to make sure that we have some shops, a supermarket. Even in developments like Parish Land in St. Philip, where we have a 122 houses, in Lancaster Two we have commercial spots, so we believe that we are not only building houses, (but) promoting businesses, creating communities, solidifying families that is what we are doing.” (SC)

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