Planning permission must be obtained from the Town and Country Planning Division of the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development before any development of land is undertaken. This is necessary to ensure the optimal and efficient use of land, and to enhance the quality of the environment by providing:
You are required by law to apply for planning permission prior to the start of any development activity. It is a breach of law and an offence to carry out development in Trinidad and Tobago without planning approval or to perform work that is not in accordance with the permission granted.
Planning permission must be obtained before commencing any form of development:
Outline Approval should first be obtained before an application for full planning permission is submitted. Outline Approval informs an applicant whether or not the type of development proposed is consistent with existing land use policy and provides overall development standards applicable to the particular site. Submission of an outline application reduces the risk of unnecessary expense in the preparation of plans and technical drawings for a development that may not be approved.
To obtain outline approval, you must submit the following documents to the regional office responsible for the area concerned:
The numbered cadastral sheet on which the site is located (if available). Information on how to obtain a cadastral sheet (map of the location) can be located by following the 'Maps and Survey Control' link at the end of this section
Copy of the deed or oldest and latest tenancy receipt and survey plan relating to the parcel of land to be developed.
An application for full planning permission is required for the following:
Outline approval should first be obtained for building operations and for the subdivision of land before an application for full planning permission can be submitted.
For full planning permission, applicants are required to deliver the following documents to the regional office responsible for the area concerned:
Application forms (TCP/1) can be obtained by following the link below or from the nearest regional office. A link providing contact information for the regional offices can also be found at the end of this section.
An acknowledgement slip will be issued when the application form is submitted. The Development Control Inspector from the Town and Country Planning Division will visit the site to collect information pertaining to the application. Then, an evaluation and report is attached to the application and submitted for consideration. The applicant is notified by mail within a two-month period whether full planning permission has been granted or refused.
Full planning permission may be granted unconditionally or may be subject to specified conditions. Where planning permission is subject to conditions or refused, a Notice of Determination will include the reasons for the decision taken. Failure to provide proper information will result in the application being returned to the applicant undetermined.
It is possible for several applications for different types of development to be submitted for one property and be approved. Each of these planning permissions remains valid, unless otherwise specified and in principle a developer may choose which he intends to implement.Municipal Corporations Contact Information
For permission for mining operations, applicants are required to deliver the following documents to the regional office responsible for the area concerned:
Two copies of the completed application form for Permission for Mining Operations (TCP/2).
Application forms (TCP/2) can be obtained from the nearest regional office. Links to the contact information for the regional offices can be found at the end of this section.
An acknowledgement slip will be issued to the applicant when the application form is submitted. The Development Control Inspector from the Town and Country Planning Division will visit the site to collect information pertaining to the application. Then, an evaluation and report is attached to the application and submitted for consideration. A Notice of Grant of Approval or Refusal of Planning Permission is prepared and the dispatched by mail to the applicant. It can take up to two months to obtain outline approval.
To obtain permission for the display of advertisements, applicants are required to deliver the following documents to the regional office responsible for the area concerned:
Application forms can be obtained from the nearest regional office. Links to the contact information for the regional offices and the application form can be found at the end of this section.
The application will be reviewed and the applicant notified by mail within a two-month period whether approval has been granted or refused.
If you are unsatisfied with a decision or conditions issued by the Town and Country Planning Division, you can appeal by submitting a written request for review of the decision to:
Advisory Town Planning Panel
Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
Level 12, Eric Williams Finance Building
Eric Williams Plaza
Port of Spain
Trinidad, West Indies
A copy of the formal notice provided by the Town and County Planning Division should be attached to the request.
A letter of acknowledgement and an appeal reference number will be mailed to you once the request is received. The Advisory Town Planning Panel will request a report from the Town and Country Planning Division and review the matter. You will be contacted and a meeting scheduled for the panel to hear your case. The panel then submits a recommendation to the Minister of Planning and Development, who makes the final decision.
If the final decision is in your favour, both you and the Town and Country Planning Division are informed, and you will be invited to resubmit the application. If the final decision is not in your favour and the decision of the Town and Country Planning Division is upheld, you will be informed in writing that the appeal has been unsuccessful.
The appeals process usually takes about three months, but this timeframe depends on the number of appeals to be considered by the panel.
If you are directly affected by unauthorised development or nuisances, you can file a complaint with the Town and Country Planning Division by providing the following information:
Complaints can be submitted in writing, or in person to the regional office responsible for the area concerned. Follow the link below for a list of contact information for regional offices.
The regional office will send you a letter of acknowledgement upon receipt of your complaint. The complaint will be investigated and a report will be submitted for consideration by a planning officer.
If there is a valid complaint, a Letter of Advice highlighting the breaches will be sent to the offender, who will be invited to discuss the matter with the Town and Country Planning Division. If issue is resolved, the complaint file is closed. If the offender does not respond or adhere to the instructions given, an enforcement notice is issued and the offender is given 56 days to comply. If there is still no compliance, legal action will commence and a court summons will be issued.
Below are some simple steps that provide guidance for persons interested in carrying out development works:
Conduct a title search on the plot of land. For information about conducting a title search, please contact the Land Registry Division of the Ministry of Legal Affairs. You can get contact information for that Division by following the link below.
Consult with Town and Country Planning Division to determine what the land is zoned for. Individuals can call or visit the nearest regional office for this information.
Purchase the land.
Obtain the deed and survey plan for the site.
Apply for Outline Approval.
Prepare plans and technical drawings for development.
Apply for Full Planning Permission.
Additional information regarding planning development and control can be obtained from your nearest regional office or from the Town and Country Planning Division at (868) 627-9700 ext. 2134.