2023 Webinar: De-carbonising Barbados: Making Barbados’ Housing Greener

The Barbados Town Planning Society presented a webinar entitled “De-carobonising Barbados: Making Barbados’ Housing Greener” on Friday June 23, 2023 at 12:00 pm and fellow professionals were invited to attend this event.

Excellent presentations were made by:


For further details please feel free to contact us!

2022 Symposium:- De-Carbonising Barbados: Impacts for Physical Planning, Green Transport and Mobility

World Town Planning Day is our major outreach event of the year. It will also be the first BTPS in-person event since before lockdown and will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott on Tuesday 8th November 2022, starting at 9.00 am. This will be a “FREE, BY INVITATION ONLY” event and all BTPS Members are invited.

The theme of the Symposium is “De-carbonising Barbados: Impacts for Physical Planning, Green Transport and Mobility”. We have arranged a number of interesting speakers and the Opening Address will be delivered by Senior Minister Dr the Hon William F Duguid JP MP. A copy of the programme is attached.  BTPS Agenda WTPD 2022

Space is limited and we want to accommodate as many stakeholders as possible. It would therefore be a great help if all BTPS Members who want to attend could register as quickly as possible and by Friday 28th October at the latest to ensure that you get a place. Please use the Google forms link below to register. This will help us to see how many places we have available for guests.

Presentations have been uploaded here:

Caribbean Urban Forum 2022 Concludes Successfully

The 2022 Caribbean Urban Forum (CUF) Conference in Barbados was held from 15th-17th June, 2022 as a hybrid of physical and online meetings. This year’s theme was Beyond COVID: Recovery – Renewable – Resilience.

Final CUF 22 AGENDA -17June2022_updated

We have created a YouTube Channel with some of the meetings and presentations from the conference:



From CUF2022: Toppin-Allahar’s Opening Statement (Panel 4) – The Changing Nature of Planning Practice in the Public Service

Panel 4 –The Changing Nature of Planning Practice in the Public Service

Planning practice in the public service is of course underpinned and guided by the legal and institutional framework for the regulation of the development of land.

Planning law in Barbados has recently been transformed by the repeal and replacement of the Town and Country Planning Act, enacted in the 1960s, by the Planning and Development Act 2019. The new Act makes radical changes to the administrative system for physical planning and development control as well as modernizing the philosophical approach to planning.

To begin with, mention should be made of the open process by which the new legislation was arrived at and adopted. This began with a PUBLIC CONSULTATION PROCESS kicked off by the PM on 16th July 2018 – within weeks of the change in government. The initial discussions (which were carried live on the GIS website and followed by a national and international audience) were followed by a GREEN PAPER which was published for further public comment. The Bill was laid in the house in December 2018, within 6 months of the original discussions, and enacted in January 2019. When it was subsequently decided to amend the Act to transform the TCPDO into a ONE-STOP-SHOP for planning and building approval, a further round of STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATIONS was held in 2019 and the necessary amendments were passed in March 2020. Hence, it can be said that there has been general buy-in by stakeholders – including relevant professionals and developers. It should be noted that the BTPS led all the public consultation exercises involved in the development of the new legislation.

The purposes of the Act speak to –

  • the facilitation of land development
  • the attainment of appropriate standards
  • efficiency and accountability on the part of regulatory authorities
  • public participation in decision-making and
  • effective access to redress and remedies for persons aggrieved.

The new administrative system it is firmly based on principles of transparency, collegial decision-making and public participation, all of which are designed to raise the veil on decision-making that characterized the old system and eliminate the opportunities for bias and corruption in development control. The element of collegial decision-making is shared by the OECS COUNTRIES, but the measures for ensuring transparency and public participation are new.

To give Barbados credit where it is due, this is the only country in the region which has substantially complied with its statutory obligations vis-à-vis land use planning under the old legislation. However that process was very outdated and not reflective of modern planning practice. Hence, the system of development planning has been modernized and made more participatory and the legal status of the development plan enhanced. Express provision has been made for the adoption of supplementary planning policies. This is intended to eliminate reliance on “desk-drawer policies” which are the bêtes noir of planning practice in the Caribbean.

As regards development control, with the exception of applications referred to the Minister, all major decisions will be made by a multi-disciplinary public-private sector Board. Only applications of national strategic importance will be referred to the Minister. All applications will be processed by the professional staff of the Planning and Development Department, who will also decide minor applications. Strict deadlines for the processing of applications have been set. The system is premised on the principle of facilitation of land development (getting past “No”/getting to “Yes”). The Act expressly states that decisions must be guided by a presumption in favour of granting planning permission – in cases where applications can be approved if modified, a entirely new form of decision “provisional refusal” will issue, which only becomes refusal if the plans are not modified.

The Department will function as a “One Stop Shop” for building as well as planning control, but most building plans reaching the Department will have been certified by registered professionals who will assume general responsibility to ensuring conformity to building codes and standards. This element of the legislation builds on an aspect of the new legislation (PADL) adopted in TRINIDAD & TOBAGO a few years ago (2014), but not yet fully proclaimed.

Provisions for the protection of the natural and built environment have been greatly strengthened. This aspect could be of great significance as the situation with environmental law in Barbados is in need of comprehensive review and improvement. Environmental management is the subject of various pieces of unrelated legislation administered by several different agencies. We have not yet achieve the union of institutional responsibility for physical planning and environmental management that was achieved by JAMAICA some two decades ago and has just been effected in SURINAME, which is about to embark on the development of a new Spatial Planning Law.

A new and transparent system for the hearing of appeals against the merits of administrative decisions by an APPEALS TRIBUNAL has also been introduced. The system has been depoliticized, regularized and opened up to public scrutiny. The right of recourse to the courts of law to challenge the legality of regulatory decisions is unaffected.

The potential benefits of the new legislation have not been fully realized to date because the required institutional strengthening of the Planning and Development Department has not been given the same urgency as was given to the enactment of the legislation. Setting aside the requirements for the start up of the “One Stop Shop” for the time being (as that part of the Act has not been proclaimed) there are other capacities that must be built up as soon as possible – for example: establishment of an Environmental Service Unit in the Department, which is critical to the new EIA process provided for in the Act and EIA Regulations. The efficiency of the system for decision-making provided for in the new Act depends as much on having adequate and appropriate staff in the Department as on a radical change in the institutional culture of the Department.

CTA 16/06/2022

Caribbean Urban Forum – Call to Papers Submission Extension is March 28th, 2022

We have extended the deadline for the Call for Papers for Caribbean Urban Forum 2022. The new deadline for submission is March 28th, 2022. Abstracts submitted by this date will receive feedback by April 12th, 2022.

Barbados will be hosting the 2022 Caribbean Urban Forum (CUF) Conference and it will be held from 15th-17th June, 2022 as a hybrid of physical and online meetings. This year’s theme is Beyond COVID: Recovery – Renewable – Resilience.

We will provide updates on our various platforms regarding bookings and participation. View and follow our Facebook page here: BTPS Facebook Page

Also, the Call for Papers for Caribbean Urban Forum 2022 is out. Click here to download latest: CUF 2022 – Call for Papers Final – Booklet Updated 2022-03-08

Caribbean Urban Forum is the premium Conference on urban and land planning in the Caribbean held annually since 2011. It brings together planners, academics, urban and land managers, high level decision makers and other allied professionals for knowledge dissemination, capacity building and policy dialogue.



Former Chief Town Planner Lionel Nurse publishes book on physical planning entitled “Fifty Years of Physical Planning in Barbados: 1968-2018”

This book covers most of the major aspects of physical planning in Barbados and includes examples of court decisions which the author has subjected to rigorous analysis, highlighting inconsistencies and areas of concern. He deals with the issue of Environmental Impact Assessments, the Planning Act, the evolution of the planning system in Barbados and development plans for the island, development control, planning regulations, conservation, land acquisition, public participation, and the role of the law courts in making planning decisions.

Available locally at the UWI bookstore and the Cloister bookstore.




2021 Symposium: Can housing development help revitalise Bridgetown?

The Barbados Town Planning Society held its lunchtime webinar on 21 May, 2021.  Presentation documents at bottom of page.

Can housing development help revitalise Bridgetown?

What is a city without people? In the third webinar in our series on Revitalising Bridgetown, we look at housing and the human factor. To what extent can new-build housing or the refurbishment of existing buildings for housing use, help to bring life back into our capital city?

Key questions to be addressed are:

  • Who wants to live in the city?
  • Would it be economically viable?
  • What are the implications for existing city residents?


Kelly Hunte, B.Sc., M.Sc, PGDip
Senior Housing Planner, Ministry of Housing, Lands and Maintenance.  

Hayden Hutton, CCIM, RICS
Chief Operating Officer, Terra Caribbean.

Cherita O’dell, B.A. MBA
Estate Broker, Million Dollar Homes and Barbados Real Estate 246.


Webinar Details
Date: Friday, 21st May 2021
Time: 12:00 noon – 1:30pm (AST)
CPD Credits: 1.5 Points
Platform: Zoom
Registration fee: General – $50.00 | BTPS  – $40.00 | Student – $10.00
Payment: Electronic Wire Transfer (Preferred)

Presentation Documents: To follow.


2021 Symposium: Bridgetown Revitalisation (follow-up) – Heritage: A Doorway to Regeneration

The Barbados Town Planning Society invites you to attend a its Webinar on Friday 26th February, 2021 at 12 noon called “BRIDGETOWN REVITALISATION – Heritage: A Doorway to Regeneration”.



Can heritage and cultural-led regeneration hold the key to Bridgetown’s future and its return to a vibrant multi-functional centre, especially in a post-pandemic world?

In this follow up to our World Town Planning Day webinar “Bridgetown Revitalisation” we expand on the conversation surrounding the rebirth of the capital city through a heritage focused lens; exploring the projects and key drivers needed for a successful transformation.

Sir Paul Altman shares his experience of delivering successful projects in historic Bridgetown and discusses the challenges and opportunities of heritage-led regeneration with a panel of experts including himself, Dr. Janice Cumberbatch (Lecturer at (CERMES) UWI, Cave Hill) and Mr. Richard Gill (Planning Consultant at Richard Gill Associates).

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Registration Fee: General – $50.00 | BTPS – $40.00 | Student – $10.00
Platform: Zoom – Please Register Online to attend this event.
Payment: Electronic Transfer (Preferred) or Cheque (delivered prior to webinar)

This webinar is valued at 1.5 CPD credits.



New Barbados Planning Act Approved in 2019

When Prime Minister Mia Mottley was elected in May 2018 one of her first actions was to start a programme of radical planning reform in Barbados. The existing legislation was in its essence over 50 years old and pre-dated Independence. It operated in a closed and opaque manner and was seen as being at risk of corruption as well as being tortuously slow. The new Prime Minister stated that planning reform was “mission critical” as part of her overall programme to address the country’s severe economic problems and remove barriers to progress.

The Planning and Development Act 2019 aims to provide a system that is open, transparent, accountable, inclusive and efficient – fit for purpose in the context of a Small Island Developing State in the twenty first century. The legislation provides for a new Planning and Development Board that will consider complex applications while the majority will be delegated to the Chief Town Planner. A new Appeals Tribunal is also being established.
Innovative elements include a “provisional refusal” to allow for extra negotiation and “approval in principle” at the concept stage (replacing the traditional outline consent which is planning permission in law). The system is being opened up, with much more opportunity for public participation and public access to information. The new Act was passed by both Houses of Parliament in January 2019.

Barbados Town Planning Society (BTPS) has long argued the case for reform of the system and back in 2014 held a Symposium on Modernisation and Transparency in Planning. This was followed by publication of our Prospectus for Change in 2015 which set out detailed recommendations for reform.

Following the May 2018 General Election, BTPS worked with Government to deliver two stakeholder events in July 2018. The Prime Minister attended and spoke at both, showing how important she regards this reform. Both events were live-streamed. The Prime Minister then appointed a consultancy team consisting of three BTPS members and a specialist planning and environmental lawyer to deliver the new legislation. That team then prepared a Green Paper for consultation and BTPS submitted a comprehensive response. The consultancy team went on to draft a White Paper and produce a Bill for consideration by Parliament. The team also helped Minister Marsha Caddle MP (responsible for Economic Affairs and Investment) present the proposals at a final stakeholder review and on a radio call-in programme.

Remarkable progress has been made in a six month period. However, the work is not finished yet. The next stage is the drafting of a new Development Order, a new Use Classes Order and new Regulations to support the Planning and Development Act. There is also a need for a major training and culture change programme to support implementation of the new legislation. Ultimately, it is achieving this change in working practices and attitudes that will be essential to making a success of the new system.

Please see Planning and Development Bill 2018 – A Brief – White Paper which provides insight into the new Act.

Please note that as of the date of this post, the new Act is still to be proclaimed.