and Country Planning
The Town and County Planning Division falls under the purview
of the Ministry of Town Planning and Development. The division
itself and its functions are set out in the Town and Country
TYPES OF PLANNING PERMISSION
Persons who are about to engage in the development of their
land/premises need to seek planning permission first.
Development of land includes:
(a) The carrying out of new construction for any purpose;
(b) The addition or renovation of existing buildings;
(c) Mining or other operations in, on or under any land;
(d) the making of a material change in the use of any building
or other land;
(e) the sub-division of any land;
(f) cutting, clearing, grading or filling of land;
(g) construction of roads, drains, changing the use of a
building or land; and
(h) display of advertisements.
There are two types of planning permission which may be
sought. They are:
(1) An outline planning permission and (2) Full planning
The outline planning permission is required for (1) building
operations and (2) sub-division of land. But this form or
approval does not give applicants the right to start development.
One may only begin construction/ works after an application
for full planning permission is submitted to and approved
by the minister. This form of permission is required for:
(i) Building operations;
(ii) Sub-division of land;
(iii) Change of use of a building or land; and
(iv) Retention of an existing building and/or use.
DELEGATED POWERS BY THE MINSTER
The minister has the power to give his powers to local authorities.
It is the delegated local authorities that grant permission
to applicants. If permission is refused by the local authority,
the applicant has the right to appeal the decision to the
The applicant has 28 days to serve notice of his intention
to appeal to the minister. The ministers decision
DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT PERMISSION
Where it appears to the minister that any development of
land has been carried out without the grant of permission,
the minister may, within 4 years, serve on the owner or
occupier of the land an enforcement notice stating the nature
of his objection.
On receipt of service of this notice, the occupier or owner
of the land has 28 days to appeal to the court against the
enforcement notice. Failure to appeal within 28 days would
mean that they have 28 more days to comply with the notice
of the enforcement.
Where someone appeals the enforcement notice, the time period
stops running until the court determines the appeal. However,
if there is no appeal where the applicant does not comply
with the enforcement notice, ie removes the structure that
is the subject of the notice, then the applicant has committed
a criminal offence.
The offence is known as the failure to comply with an enforcement
notice and is punishable by a criminal court of law. This
type of offence is prosecuted by the Office of the Director
of Public Prosecutions, in conjunction with Town and Country
According to the legislation, the penalty for a non-compliance
with an enforcement notice is a fine of $1,500 or, in the
case of a continuing offence, a further fine of $300 for
every day after the first day of the offence beginning.
This article sets out general guidelines. All legal rules
have exceptions and variations. How the law applies to you
depends on the facts of your case.
This column is an initiative of the Trinidad Guardian and
the Law Association, with assistance from students of the
Hugh Wooding Law School.