Since the New Parliament Is Located On Provincial Boundaries, The Delivery Of Infrastructure At Mt Hampden Cuts Straight Into The Issues Of (Dis)jointed Planning Across Boundaries
By Justice KL Nyakatawa
An overarching priority in long-term sustainable development across local planning authorities sharing common boundaries is the existence of a robust framework for strategic planning.
In Rural and Urban Planning parlance, this simply refers to policies which address larger than local issues that cannot be dealt with by one local authority.
Among these things are housing provision and development or improvement of infrastructure (transport, wastewater, energy generation, telecommunications, health, protection of countryside, etc).
It is pertinent that there is duty to co-operate between the relevant local authorities, involving constructive engagement on matters of mutual interest, and out of that, a consideration of how they might progress joint planning between them.
In a discussion on property investment in Zimbabwe hosted by Leimen Ltd – and presented by Mr Lawrence Rimayi of Oasis Realty – there was an interesting discussion around the impact the New Parliament might have on land values at the periphery of the development.
It is common cause that investment in infrastructure, planning permission (or expectation of) and other societal factors (e., economic growth) may cause uplift in land value.
It is not clear what impact the new Parliament will have on the immediate area around it, comprising that within the jurisdiction of three Local Authorities, namely City of Harare, Zvimba Rural District Council and Mazowe Rural District Council.
However, what is very clear is the flurry of residential developments on the common boundaries of these three local authorities including, but not limited to, Fairview Estates, New Marlborough, Good Hope, Sandton, etc.
Evidently, Investors and Speculators are excited about the prospects of land value uplift and have started parcelling and selling residential plots of different sizes, some of which are already built on.
What is less clear is whether these developments have been planned inside a strategic planning framework that incorporates the new Parliament, and how adjoining land-uses may be juxtaposed to create efficient and complementary land uses.
Lack of co-operation between the interested parties through joint working will create less than sustainable outcomes. Subdivision of land into circa 1000 sq.m. that is alleged to have happened at the cited developments implies low-density housing flanking the Parliament Building.
Is this a deliberate design outcome or it is fortuitous? There are also issues around infrastructure provision, considering that many developments around Urban Centres have sprung up without the requisite infrastructure like water, waste facilities, amenities, roads, etc.
From experience, residents will resort to boreholes and sceptic tanks, which are not sustainable in the long term considering ground water contamination risks and overflowing sewage, thereby undermining the glamour and presence the otherwise beautiful Parliament building is meant to present in the locality.
The development at Mt Hampden cuts straight into the issues of (dis)jointed planning across boundaries.
It’s not clear how much of this has or has not happened but it will be interesting to explore these so Landowners, Investors and future residents may be better advised.
Time will tell but Realtors in Zimbabwe and Planners might need to review this further to explore the best outcomes that may be salvaged if it is indeed the case that there has been missed opportunities.
*NB*: These are personal opinions by the Author which do not impune wrongdoing by anyone.
Justice Nyakatawa Is A Chartered Town Planner. He is Host Of The Leimen Limited Property Show on Zoom and on multiple channels.
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*Saturday December 18. In partnership with The Sunday Express Property Digest Magazine*. See News Differently