The Planning and Development Department’s new website and e-portal. (PDD)

Prospective home owners should now find it easier to manage their planning applications at every stage seamlessly, with the launch of the Planning and Development Department’s (formerly the Town and Country Development Planning Office) website and e-portal.

The online portal was officially launched today before an audience that included members of the new Planning and Development Board during a ceremony at Baobab Towers, Warrens, St. Michael.

Senior Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for coordinating Infrastructural Projects, Dr. William Duguid, said that the ePortal Platform was conceptualised to allow the public to use the services of the Planning and Development Department in an online environment as part of the department’s overall digital strategy to improve its efficiency.

He added: “The Planning and Development Department is now in transition to modernise the delivery of its planning and development services.  This modernisation process is intended to transform the customer experience and develop a more responsive and outcome focused service.

“Against that background, the department is in the process of undertaking certain operational improvements to service delivery, the most notable being the use of an electronic portal for submitting planning applications.”

The Senior Minister disclosed that the portal went live in February 2021 in a test environment, with a core of users testing its effectiveness, gathering feedback, and reporting any issues to the department.

Dr. Duguid stated: “As we move forward, it is expected that the principle of proactive management will be a significant cornerstone in the processing of development planning applications.

He continued: “He This shift will require a new culture that encourages interaction with the public and is focused on enabling and facilitating high quality sustainable development, not just controlling and regulating development.  It will also need to proactively monitor and manage performance to achieve the necessary improvements.”

The Senior Minister proffered the view that transitioning the planning service from a “development control” environment to a “development management system” would see emphasis placed on the pre-application stage and delivering sustainable development, and would include the principles of ‘place-shaping’ to achieve the national planning vision and objectives.

Dr. Duguid added that the Planning and Development Department had a key role to play in achieving the island’s national development ambition through facilitating sustained economic growth, job creation, delivering sustainable development goals and enabling safe and vibrant neighbourhoods.

He said effective planning helped to shape the places where people live and worked, and was an integral part of Government’s wider social, environmental and economic objectives for sustainable communities.  

“The department will transition into a multi-department/division line of business that offers one-stop shopping for planning, building control, and development-related activities. The work to transform the system continues in earnest as the department undertakes a comprehensive review and change management process to complement the newly introduced legislative and governance framework.”

Users of the portal can submit formal applications for all types of development.  They can also request permission to kill a tree; permitted development certification; final and revised plans approval; a Site Layout Certificate (Building Start), a Certificate of Compliance, and submit and process complaints.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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