Congestion on the island’s roads and the construction of “dormitories” instead of homes with the requisite services can be traced to the non-observace of Town Planning regulations and the failure
to recognize town planning as a profession.
Former Chief Town Planner Lenny St Hill levelled these charges at the Barbadian public today while delivering the Democratic Labour Party lunchtime lecture at party headquarters on George Street, St Michael.
Stressing the need for careful planning in the development of residential districts, the retired senior civil servant said: “In the development of a subdivision for residential purposes the regulations would have to state the density at which that particular development would take place; so many houses per acre and the number of people per acre so that when you made the subdivision you can attach a condition which would indicate the number
of houses per acre.
“By that control, you will be able to say whether the water supply
was adequate; the transportation to that particular area was adequate
and the schools and services were adequate for the service of that subdivision,” St Hill added.
He maintained that by ignoring these requirements, Barbados now had the subdivision of land which had created nothing more than dormitories.
“Dormitories, places where people just sleep, and they leave to go to work inevitably in Bridgetown and then they return and find themselves
back in a dormitory and if you want a loaf of bread you have to go as close
as you can get to Bridgetown because no provision is made as a matter of course for shops, schools and other urban facilities which are required in those urban developments.
“And now you get something on the highway which is called Villages or whatever and there is an attempt is being made to make comprehensive development of that area,” St Hill explained.
St Hill recalled that as far back as 1969, there was a Cave Hill Development Plan where the post office and the National
Cultural Foundation are located, 12 acres of that land was earmarked
for a town centre.
“Today, if that were properly developed it would have been a useful adjunct to the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. All those houses in the area would be dormitories or residences for students; the traffic would be reduced; and the people who have residences in Wanstead, Husbands, and all those areas would be fully serviced by what is taking place in Warrens and creating a confusion.
“Here we have a situation where the National Housing Corporation owns land in Cave Hill but they are either acquiring or renting land elsewhere to build offices which could have been easily built on those 12 acres,” St Hill pointed out.
Taking a critical look at the recruitment of foreign town planning consultants, St Hill maintained that they saw Barbados as 166 square miles and argued there was no need for other towns.
“Let us make one big town from Checker Hall, St Lucy, to East Point Lighthouse in St Philip. That of course creates the confusion that the Development Plan in the first place was supposed to avoid. The congestion on Highway 1 and Highway 7 has not been removed because we have continued to focus on Bridgetown. Wildey and Warrens have now become nightmares because they are at the confluence of the ABC Highway and radial roads coming in from the country.
“So coming into Bridgetown you have to go through Wildey, Warrens or Haggatt Hall, instead of developing Nestfield, Belleplaine, Welcman Hall, Six Cross Roads, Holetown and Speightstown,” St Hill pointed out.