THE much-touted Mutare City Council master plan was recently turned down and the local authority has been urged by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to utilise available space by building upwards, The Manica Post has learnt.
Addressing those who attended the 2023 half year budget performance review meeting held at a local hotel recently, Acting Mutare City Council Town Clerk, Mr Blessing Kapuya Chafesuka said the Local Government Ministry told them to look for ways to optimally use available space in the city by constructing upwards.
“We were invited for a meeting in Harare to defend the master plan. At the end of the meeting, the Minister advised us to go back and look at areas of expansion within the already available space and one way of doing that is to build upwards.
“He said there is not much land to give out, hence the decision to encourage the city to construct buildings upwards,” said Mr Chafesuka.
According to the proposed master plan, the city would have had an additional 15 000 hectares of land at its disposal, with Mutare expanding towards Riverside, Arda Transau, Penhalonga and Zimunya.
Over the years, lack of land has seen the expansion of Mutare into nearby rural communities, a move that has disrupted communal life as families that have big plots in Dora and Zimunya peri-urban areas are parcelling them out to land seekers.
Peri-urban areas such as Mutasa, Vumba and Chigodora are also being targeted by the urbanites.
Houses have been built on pastures, while maize fields have been turned into shopping malls.
In 2014, Mutare’s city fathers declared land bankruptcy and made frantic efforts to get into a land swap deal with Government.
The deal would have seen the local authority ceding Meikles Park in the Central Business District in exchange for State land measuring 188 000ha, stretching from Dangamvura Link Road to Fern Valley Turn along the Mutare-Chimanimani Road.
However, the deal was stalled by endless court battles over the ownership of Meikles Park. — Manica Post.