AT least three new buildings one at a block of flats are being built along boundary walls in Ward 7, raising the ire of residents who are questioning the developments.
Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter
One of the buildings is being built at a new block of flats along the boundary wall at the corner of Huntly and Ascot Road in Avondale West. Residents say the new structure at the block of flats is too close to the road and a poses danger. The development is right next to Number 44 Ascot Road right up against the external boundary of the property, facing Huntly, something which residents say they find to be bizarre.
The structure appears to have a glorified two storey “guard room” by the entrance to the complex.
Residents have sought explanations from Ward 7 Councillor Happymore Gotora on the developments in question.
“There’s a block of flats being built corner Huntly and Ascot Road Avondale West. It’s being built along the boundary wall. My understanding is buildings must be 3 meters away from the wall. Am I correct?” queried Maria Mlingo.
Another resident Ivy Kumira added: “Previously I thought so, but I’ve seen similar houses built close to durawalls, I began to think otherwise.”
Residents bemoaned the fact that the City of Harare was not enforcing its own by-laws leading to the sprouting of numerous illegal developments.
“The by-laws say 5 metres from the road that is from Ascot, then 3 metres from the adjacent fence,” said Boniface Washaya. Another resident and vice chairperson of the Ward 7 Ratepayers and Residents Association Mr John Vekris said the greatest problem was the failure by the municipality to enforce by-laws and developers know they can get away with any infringements.
The developers also get the motivation to breach the by-laws from the assurance that they can always apply for regularisation of their structures in future.
“The structure concerned is actually on Huntly Road, round the corner from Ascot. It appears to be an afterthought, because the garden flats themselves were basically finished some time ago.
“The problem, of course, is that CoH (City of Harare) stopped enforcing the by-laws a long time ago. Both because of inefficiency/dysfunction and corruption. So, people know they can get away with this sort of thing. At the very least, they can ‘regularise’ it after the event,” said Mr Vekris.
Councillor Gotora said he had received residents’ concerns on the developments and had sent the development control unit to the site.
“I received the concerns from residents and I have sent the development control unit together with building inspectors to the site. The district officer confirmed that the development control unit was on the ground investigating the matter, so we are waiting for their findings and we act,” said Cllr Gotora.
Suburban visited the site and the contractor said they could not comment on anything but claimed everything was properly approved. The contractor referred all questions to HomeLux whom he said were the owners of the development.
“I am positive everything is in order. However, I am not in a position to comment on anything. I will have to refer you to HomeLux who are the owners of the development. You can find them along Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Road (formerly Enterprise Road),” said the contractor.
No comment could be obtained from HomeLux.
Cllr Gotora said the development control unit found out that the structures flouting the building lines are not the flats but a guard room and a refuse room, which are normally close to the gate so it’s not a problem.
However, they are now seeking to establish if the whole structure was properly approved.
“The response from the development control is that the building that is flouting building lines is not a building. It’s a guard room and what they are calling a refuse room where they will put their bins. So those at the boundary walls are not the structures but just a guard room and a refuse room. But we are now pursuing to establish if the whole building was properly approved because the development control unit was shown plans that were not stamped. They said the stamped ones are there so we are now waiting for those, so we know,” said Cllr Gotora.
Two other new buildings are also being developed too close to the boundaries at the corner of Chester Road and Clare Road and near the top of Cornwall Road. Both of them are close to the new block of flats on Huntly Road.