You have Issues with Manzini Town Planning Scheme?
…rest assured the Municipal Council of Manzini will be reviewing it this year
Pointers suggest that some citizens of Manzini have reservations with some of the dictates of the present Manzini Town Planning Scheme.
This conclusion comes in the wake of a number of concerns that stakeholders have expressed to Council about this land use legal document which was endorsed in 2013 and will run for a 10-year period until 2023.
Perhaps it is proper to briefly explain what a Town Planning Scheme is so that everyone is on board. A Town Planning Scheme is a tool that urban governments use to guide and facilitate development (land use) in the urban area. It is a legal document that specifies how land in the urban area may be used or developed. Ultimately, it ensures orderly and proper planning. For example, if one desires to build a mall, school, church or any other development; or even start a car wash business in the urban area, the first point of reference is the Town Planning Scheme. Does the intended development or activity conform to the land use rights as dictated by the Town Planning Scheme? According to the Town Planning Scheme, is a car wash business, church, school or mall permitted in your area of interest? These are some of the questions that the Town Planning Scheme answers.
The good thing about the Town Planning Scheme is that it is time bound. It has a defined lifetime. For example, the present Manzini Town Planning Scheme began in 2013 and its life will end in 2023. Another good thing about it is that the Town Planning Act, 1961, allows for its review every after five years. Even more fantastic about it is that the end users (stakeholders) participate during its development and(or) review process. Extensive stakeholder consultation takes place during its development. This happens on the premise that the final Town Planning Scheme must reflect the needs of the citizens in terms of land use rights instead of it being an imposition.
The good news is that time has come for the review of this legal document. The review is planned for the financial year 2019/2020. Five years is a long time and there is a likelihood that the needs of the market (stakeholders) have changed. The Municipal Council of Manzini would like to make a promise that stakeholders will be consulted during the review process so that all issues that they have with the present Scheme can be dealt with. If you are not familiar with the present Town Planning Scheme, please feel free to approach Council’s Community Services Department and you shall be assisted.
…COMMON ISSUES STAKEHOLDERS HAVE ABOUT PRESENT SCHEME
As the Municipal Council of Manzini continues to engage with stakeholders through her various engagement platforms, including the recent stakeholder consultations relating to development of Manzini’s new Integrated Development Plan, there are indications of discomfort on the part of citizens regarding the present Town Planning Scheme hence the need for a review. The following are some of the issues that have been brought to the attention of Council;
TOO MANY LIQUOR OUTLETS IN THE TOWNSHIPS
There are concerns to the effect that the Town Planning Scheme seems not to have limits with regard to the number of liquor establishments that can be permitted in a township. Issues of noise pollution and harm to the quality of life in the neighborhoods seem to be of the highest concern with regard to the influx of liquor establishments.
TOO MANY CHURCHES IN SOME TOWNSHIPS
Some stakeholders are of the view that the present Town Planning Scheme has no limit in terms of the number of churches that can be permitted in a neighborhood. Some citizens have expressed discomfort regarding the increase in the number of church establishments within residential areas. Again, the topmost concerns are issues of noise pollution and parking of vehicles on the roadway.
WHY ALLOW SCHOOLS IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD?
Some residents are not comfortable with the establishment of schools; be it government, private schools or pre-schools. Once again, the issues at hand usually border on noise pollution and heavy traffic volumes in the neighborhood.
NUMBER OF PERMITTED UNITS PER PLOT
The Town Planning Scheme allows for rental units (flats) of no more than 50sqm in townships or precincts where the development of rental flats are allowed. Even the number of units that may be constructed in a plot is limited; regardless of the plot size. Those who happen to have huge plots usually express frustration about the limitations in the number of units permitted. On the flipside, those who live in low density townships such as Coates Valley and Madonsa usually express discomfort in the fact that they are not allowed to build rental units in their plots.
…COUNCIL IN BID TO REDUCE WAITING PERIOD AT NAZARENE TRAFFIC LIGHTS
Following concerns from motorists regarding long waiting periods at the Manzini Nazarene and Manzini Club traffic lights, the Municipal Council of Manzini is in the process of re-configuring the timings of the traffic lights; the objective being to reduce the waiting period.
You will recall, dear reader, that at the Nazarene traffic lights, for example, one would wait well over two minutes before the cycle went back to green light. However, with the introduction of an improved traffic lights controller system, Council has decided to configure the timings depending on whether it is during off peak or peak hours. In other words, the waiting is now shorter during off peak and relatively long during peak hours (but not longer than prior to the re-configurations). This intervention is meant to allow for free flow of traffic and reduction of unnecessary stoppage at the traffic intersections whilst waiting for the light to switch back to green.
It is worth-mentioning, however, that Council is still monitoring the changes and adjustments are being made from time to time. Council pleads for patience from motorists as she continues to make driving in and out of the city easier and quicker. Phone calls are already being received regarding the changes.