Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter
Residents of Vainona, Maxwell Road, Crighton Road and Tonbridge Way in New Alexandra Park last week met representatives from the City of Harare over their concerns about flats that are being developed along Maxwell Road.
One of the residents who attended the meeting said all the concerns raised at the meeting will be considered when making a decision whether the permit for the flats will be granted.
She said issues raised included that of permits and paperwork for the flats.
“It was argued that the targeted land is classified as a wetland and so how can permission be granted?
“Residents asked questions like if they were going to be over 1 000 units, how many cars would be using Maxwell Road. Also our rubbish hasn’t been collected for five weeks, where would all the rubbish go?” said the resident.
Another concern discussed at the meeting was that of water supply. Residents feared that the drilling of more boreholes would result in the existing boreholes drying up. The residents said the City of Harare representatives assured them that they would get council water.
“One of the City of Harare people said they would supply water which is laughable as we haven’t had water for years,” said a resident.
The meeting was also attended by lawyers for the Wetlands Trust Association, representatives of the Wetlands Trust Association, Dandaro Home Owners Association and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
Residents of Maxwell Road, Tonbridge Way and Crighton Road on March 24 this year wrote a letter objecting to the construction of the flats.
Sources say one block of flats is already being built.
A letter seen by Suburban says that the residents were objecting to the consideration or approval of a permit as the piece of land earmarked for building the flats is a wetland while the proposed development is not designed for the area.
Residents objected to the new flats saying with more people living at the flats, there will be congestion on Maxwell Road.
“The area was designed to have only a road easement, which is supposed to be a major road linking Harare Drive to other parts of the city and therefore no permanent buildings are allowed in this area taking into account the Mt Pleasant River adjacent to it.
“Council has allowed Hellenic Academy to use this area as a sports field with no permanent structures erected, which has not only preserved the wetland but reduced security breaches that were happening in the area as the open way to Borrowdale Road, which was a weak security point was secured,” reads the objection letter.
Residents also cited the noise pollution that will result from the increase in population. Another worry was the increase in the number of the school-going populace without a corresponding increase in schools.
“The schools in the area are already full with public schools having higher numbers than the recommended.
“Such a development should not be allowed to proceed when there is no school available,” reads the objection letter.
According to the letter, the residents also presented their arguments to the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry through the Harare Wetlands Trust in October last year.
Seatrite Properties Private Limited in January and March this year wrote letters to residents advising them of its application for a permit for the construction of 10-storey apartments.
“We would like to advise you that we have submitted an application to the City of Harare for a permit to construct 10-storey cascading apartments on the said stand (Stand 19829) in terms of section 26 (3) of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 20:12) of 1996.
“As our neighbour, we are required by law to advise you of this application which is now being considered by council,” wrote Seatrite.
Council also gave a notice of an application to carry out the development on the said piece of land.
“It is proposed to erect 2 to 10-storey cascading apartments housing a total of 1 068 individual residential single family units on the above quoted stand which is situated within Residential Zone in terms of the approved layout Subdivision Plan TPY 586/4.
“The proposed development may be permitted through special consent of the Local Planning Authority. The proposed development, if allowed shall be on reticulated Harare municipal sewer system.
“In terms of the Act, the application is required to be advertised in a newspaper circulating in the area and abutting neighbours notified in writing before being considered by the Local Planning Authority. The applications, plans and any special conditions which the authority is likely to impose in the event of this application being favourably considered may be inspected at the address below (Director of Works, Cleveland House) during normal office hours.
“Any person wishing to make objections or representations relating to the application must lodge them with the undersigned within one month of the date of the first insertion of this notice,” reads a notice from the City of Harare’s director of works.