This country???s Physical Development Plan (2003) is in the process of being amended.

The disclosure came last evening from Chief Town Planner, Mark Cummins, as he addressed a public meeting at St. Patrick???s Church Hall to discuss a Community Plan which is being prepared for the districts stretching from St. David???s, Christ Church to Six Cross Roads, St. Philip.

Mr. Cummins told the large gathering that the Community Plan would dovetail into the Physical Development Plan and when completed, the one for the community would be a part of it.

Giving the background to the community plan, he explained that the Town and Country Development Planning Office had received a high number of applications to convert approximately 1,900 acres of land for purposes other than agriculture.

???It was agreed that since the growth of eastern Christ Church and St. Philip appeared to have taken off to such an extent that was outside what we had projected in the Physical Development Plan, that in the best interest of ??? the development of Barbados and sustainable development, that we should have a community plan for the area stretching from St. David???s to Six Cross Roads,??? he explained.

He told the residents that the public meeting was designed to give them an opportunity to contribute to the planning process.

???At Town Planning we hold the view that unless the stakeholders, including the residents of the area, have a significant input into the process then we are wasting our time. Planning is for communities, planning is about building communities; we cannot build communities without involving the persons who reside in them, so this meeting is one of several which will be held during the process,??? he stated.

The Chief Town Planner said the Community Plan is scheduled for completion in October this year, and it would then be submitted to his office. He pointed out that it would be widely circulated for comment and if a resident objected to something in the plan, the individual would be given the opportunity to address it during a public forum.

He continued: ???This is a very transparent process and it is coming at a very important time??? Barbadians living outside the area can also make contributions to the process and they, too, will see the document [when completed].???

Executive Director of Open Plan, Steve Kemp, explained that the consultants were currently gathering information. ???Then we will move to the stage of identifying options for the future, go through the process of evaluating them and then we will come up with a draft plan,??? he disclosed.

Mr. Kemp said the community plan, which would guide development over 10 years, would look at land uses, the environment, the resources, the type, location and form of development and the physical and social infrastructure and services in the area.

He noted that the Physical Development Plan for 2003 had allocated most of the land in the area for agricultural use.

???Between 1999 and 2010, there were 15 applications [to the Town Planning Department] for large sites??? In total, the planning applications cover just over 2,000 acres of land; from that, permission has been granted for 280 acres, and permission for about 122 acres has been refused. Just over 1,500 acres remain outstanding, so decisions have not yet been made on that [acreage],??? he told the audience.

Ecoisle Consulting Inc. and Open Plan won the contract to develop the community plan.

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