Go after the owners, says architect
Local architect Mark Hiorns says the current state of the island’s coastline is not only “offensive” but also “depressing”.
And he is calling on Government to amend the Town & Country Planning Act to give the Town & Country Development Planning Office (TCDPO) the power to force the owners of incomplete and derelict buildings to finish them.
Topping his list of offensive properties are the Harlequin in Rockley, Christ Church, the former Caribee Hotel in Hastings, Christ Church, Beachlands in Holetown, St James, the former Chefette site in Holetown, the Regency in Holetown, and the former Paradise Beach (better known as Four Seasons) at Clearwater Bay, St Michael.
“Each of these is fenced off with 12-foot high plywood hoardings, and has robbed Barbadians of views and sunsets, particularly in Holetown, and access to the beach,” he complained.
While pointing out that “most of these hoardings have been erected very close to the edge of the road, thereby obliterating the sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk in the road,” he warned that “these depressing locations are now part of the Barbadian tourism product [and] visitors are sending home photos and reports of these properties”.
Hiorns insisted that “it should not be possible for a foreign or local developer to be able to purchase a large sensitive location, such as beachfront, without a bond or some kind of legal commitment to complete the project in a satisfactory manner.”
He noted that Part V of the Town and Country Planning Act Cap 240 specifically states that the Chief Town Planner may serve an enforcement notice if, in his opinion, a breach of planning control has occurred. The Act also states that notice must be served within four years of the breach.
However, Hiorns lamented that “the Act doesn’t appear to refer specifically to non-completion of a project or the unlimited use of site hoardings”.
“I think that the TCDPO is in a good position right now to assess the number of projects being processed with regard to employment potential and local purchasing. If these projects are to be fast-tracked, the owners and agents of these projects need to be engaged by TCDPO in order to resolve any outstanding planning issues that may be causing delays and establish a timeline for the start and completion of the project,” he said.