The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) on Wednesday hosted an outreach session with representatives from the various municipalities educating them on the processes and systems associated with planning and building regulations.CH&PA Chief Development Planner Germene StewartCH&PA Chief Development Planner Germene Stewart noted that the aim of the session was to provide clarity on planning and building regulation issues in addition to collaborating with municipalities to ensure the procedures were adhered to.“We are hoping by working closely with the municipalities where we can really focus on the complaints and contravention, and this is a start and the start is the awareness session and let persons know out there, because a lot of them do not know the procedures and what is required,” she stated.Additionally, she noted that unauthorised development was an issue plaguing the municipalities and they often led to complications, hence the holding of the session.When asked about penalties for the delinquent developers, Senior Development Planner Fayola Azore noted that the Authority would serve the developer a contravention notice and 28 days after that, they would initiate court proceedings if in non-compliance. The CH&PA is also looking at revising the penalty structure to ensure that the developers comply.Azore added that because of the minimal penalty, collaboration with the municipalities and the local authorities was essential to tackling the issues of non-compliance with building and planning development regulations.“That is the reason we want the local authorities on board, because they can stop this in the beginning. Because they can see when these buildings are going up and they can stop it and then we can still have that contravention served at our end, because sometimes when the building comes to us it is already there and it might be difficult for us to proceed,” she noted.“We need their assistance because at the end of the day the planning permission is not with just the CH&PA, we have our partners which are the local authorities, so we starting with the municipalities and after we will be going into the Regions with the (Neighbourhood Democratic Councils) NDCs,” Azore added.The Planning and Settlement Development Department of the CH&PA as part of its mandate, under the Country and Planning Act, Chapter 20:01 is tasked with the responsibility of promoting and facilitating orderly and sustainable development within the country. This is achieved through the planning and development process, which mainly involves the preparation of developmental plans and the implementation of these plans to ensure compliance. Hence, before any development takes place, planning permission is required.