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Latimer stand owners risk catastrophic losses

10 Sep, 2021 - 15:09 0 Views
Latimer stand owners risk catastrophic losses Police stop construction on the Latimer wetlands in 2019.

Suburban

Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter

Town planning expert Mr Canaan Mugayi says resumption of construction on a wetland on Latimer in Greendale after demolitions by some developers is a sad way of inviting health problems due to hypertension as there is a building restriction on the (Greendale) Local Development Plan.

Mr Mugayi, who is also resident of Greendale, was commenting  following the resumption of construction on the wetland despite demolitions by the City of Harare earlier this year.

“It is not surprising: planning law is not easy to understand for the general public. Only when the bulldozers come again will the developer realise that there is no wisdom in playing ‘jambanja’ (disorder) where the law is very clear.

“What may be difficult to understand for the people who were allocated stands in the vlei is that the creation of those stands ignored a very important clause that there is a building restriction in the Local Development Plan.

“Without uplifting this condition, any act of development is illegal.

“And the courts will not be sympathetic with them,” he said.

Mr Mugayi said those continuing to build are ill-advised.

“Yes, they were allocated the stands by council but nowhere did council ever say build, building plans still have to be passed before construction takes place. And the plans cannot pass given that there is a building restriction. Proceeding with construction is a sad way of inviting a stroke.

“Whoever is resuming construction on the vlei is ill- advised,” he said.

For the past few years, Greendale residents, through the Greendale Residents and Ratepayers Association, have been fighting against the developments on the Latimer wetlands.

In 2019 they won a court order stopping developments on the wetland and early this year, the City of Harare listed the Latimer houses among the illegal developments in Harare.

The municipality gave notice to the owners of the houses to demolish the structures but they approached the courts seeking to stop the demolitions arguing that it was the same council, which allocated them the stands.

The matter is still pending but some of the stand owners are continuing to build before the courts have ruled on the dispute.

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