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Development Planning and Control


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:

  • An aesthetically pleasing living environment.
  • Adequate services to communities.
  • Compatibility among various land uses.
  • Privacy between buildings.
  • Convenience and safety for pedestrians and vehicles.
  • Fire protection, natural light and ventilation to all buildings.
  • Recreational open space.

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. 




When is planning permission required?

Planning permission must be obtained before commencing any form of development:

  • Sub-division of land.
  • Erection of new buildings or structures for any purpose (e.g. housing, shopping, industry, etc.).
  • Additions or renovations to existing buildings or structures.
  • Cutting, clearing, grading or filling of land.
  • Mining operations.
  • Construction of roads and drains.
  • Changing the use of a building or land.
  • Display of advertisement.

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Outline Planning Permission

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:

  • Two copies of the completed Outline Application Form (TCP/3)

  • Two copies of a location sketch with sufficient information to enable the site to be clearly and positively identified by a field officer.  Information such as the plot number, postal address, number of the nearest light pole or mile mark, prominent landmark, culvert and other similar information, will be useful on location sketches.
  • 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. 

Application forms (TCP/3) can be obtained by following the link below or from the nearest regional office.  A link providing contact information for the regional offices is located at the end of this section.  Detailed plans and drawings are not required at this stage.

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 Outline Planning Permission is prepared and sent by mail to the applicant.  Outline approval can be obtained within a two-month period.

Outline Planning Permission Application Form (TCP/3)

Maps and Survey Control

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Full Planning Permission

An application for full planning permission is required for the following:

  • Building operations (erection and structural addition or renovation of buildings).
  • Change of use of a building or land.
  • Retention of an existing building.
  • Subdivision of land.
  • Cutting, clearing, grading or filling of land.
  • Construction of roads and drains.


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:

  • Four copies of the completed Application Form for Permission to Develop Land (TCP/1).

  • Four copies of a location sketch with sufficient information to enable the site to be clearly and positively identified by a field officer. Information such as the plot number, postal address, number of the nearest light pole, mark of the nearest mile post, prominent landmark, culvert and other similar information, will be useful on location sketches.
  • Four copies of all plans and drawings that describe the proposed development (as applicable).  All drawings are to be drawn at an appropriate scale for legibility and easy handling.
    • Location and site plan showing the north sign.
    • Floor plans and foundation plans.
    • Elevations and sections.
    • Structural drawings.
    • Isometric drawings (for sewered buildings).
    • Electrical drawings (for non-residential buildings).
  • Two copies of the completed Application Form for the Utilization of Land (LHA-2), should be forwarded to the local authority. These forms can be obtained from the municipal corporation responsible for the area concerned. The link at the end of this section provides office locations for the municipal corporations. 


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.

 
Full Planning Permission Application Form (TCP/1)

Municipal Corporations Contact Information

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Permission for Mining Operations

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). 

  • Two copies of a location sketch with sufficient information to enable the site to be clearly and positively identified by a field officer.
  • 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 found by following the 'Maps and Survey Control' link at the end of this section.
  • Copy of the deed and/or survey plan relating to the parcel of land to be mined.


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.


Maps and Survey Control

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Permission to Display Advertisements

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:

  • Three copies of the completed application form for Permission to Display Advertisements.
  • The proposed advertisement description, dimensions, location and site plan
  • Elevation drawings and design details for the structure.

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.


Application form for permission to display advertisements

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Are there any fees?

There are no fees for obtaining planning permission.

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Can I appeal a planning decision?

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.

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Unauthorised Development and Complaints

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:

  • Your name, address and contact number.
  • Offender's name, address and contact number (if available).
  • Nature of the complaint.
  • Willingness to give evidence in court.
  • Location sketch of the complaint site.
  • Start and end date of the offence (if available).

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.

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Guidelines for Development Projects

Below are some simple steps that provide guidance for persons interested in carrying out development works:

  • Locate an appropriate plot of land.
  • 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.


Land Registry Division of the Ministry of Legal Affairs

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Additional Information

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.

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