Residents petition over open space ignored

29 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
Residents petition over open space ignored A grader rips through residents’ maize in preparation for development on Stand 988 Wyatt Avenue in Mabelreign.


Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter

Residents of Greencroft submitted a petition against the development taking place on Stand 988 Wyatt Avenue in Mabelreign but the petition was ignored by council authorities.

The land was reportedly taken over by a developer claiming to be a church.

The developer is said to have come with a grader and destroyed residents’ maize grown on the land.

Mr Lawrence Kuleya, Harare provincial chairperson of the Zimbabwe Combined Residents and Ratepayers Association (ZICORRA) said some residents were growing maize on the land.

“This is despite the fact that residents had objected to this development over many issues raised in a petition they had done previously,” he said.

According to the petition, residents said any development in that area would affect surrounding streets including Braintree, Aveley, Scarsedale and Moorhouse.

“The residents object in terms of the Regional Town and Country Planning Act (CAP29:12 to the change of use into a church, flats or any other development that involves construction of buildings, commercial or residential on this open space.

“Residents are supposed to object in terms of Section 194 (1) of the constitution where affected and involved people like residents in the affected area are supposed to participate in such decision making as the above proposed development but they have not been involved or participated in any decision pertaining this area.

“Residents are objecting to all of this since newspaper adverts are not an effective way of consultation because not everyone reads papers daily.

“No prior communication via the recognized offices like the council district offices, councillors etc. was done to residents which could easily lead to their domestic workers, tenants, school children or others ending up signing for things they are not literate about rendering the whole process as lacking credibility and transparency,” reads the petition.

The residents said they object to the proposed development as any development on the open area is unjustifiable given the already overloaded services and infrastructure such as roads, sewage and water reticulation as well as electricity infrastructure.

“The water crisis affecting all suburbs in Harare is well documented including in this suburb. This open area is located in the Sherwood Park, Greencroft area of Mabelreign.

“So putting a church, flats or any other development will only worsen water and other service delivery issues already plaguing the community in question,” residents said in the petition.

The land in dispute is also believed to be part of unfinished court processes.

“It is important to note that this open area Stand 988 Watt Avenue already had litigation issues, objections from residents and disputes over a sewer line that was put in this open area by a developer who built 26 duplex flats without any sewer connections in a neighboring street called Axminster Avenue. They forced their sewer line through this open area. Both the 26 duplex flats and existing households in Braintree Avenue are connected to this sewer line, thereby seriously overloading it. Since there is no public service infrastructure on the open area it means any development done there will be connected to the existing infrastructure from either households or adjacent streets which is already aged and overwhelmed like the Braintree Avenue sewer line. Therefore, residents object to any form of development on this open area, as this will be a disaster. They do not want a repeat of what has occurred with the Axminster flats whereby a developer forced their sewer lines, water, Zesa connections through residents’ yards or neighbouring streets,” the residents said in the petition.

They said the development of open spaces has the risk of devaluing properties in the area.

“What is the reason for converting scarce open areas into residential places, churches or other developments? This will only lower the property values of all houses around this area. They will also cause overcrowding and congestion, bringing with it crime, noise pollution via gatherings, all-night church services, public address systems and also too much vehicle and human traffic in the community, interfering with the privacy of existing households which were used to a low density, serene and quiet environment. The fact that this area was left open for decades whilst houses were built around it means it was left open for a reason by former city planners and this must be respected. Any development will interfere with the current well-planned ground and surface drainage systems. Since it is a wetland area it must be left as it is for obvious ecological reasons. Currently, residents with boreholes are complaining about the low water table while other boreholes are drying up. So all open spaces must be preserved especially wetland areas. This open area also acts as a waterway which holds and soaks up all rainwater from surrounding streets which flows into it, preventing rainwater flooding into all streets that are at a lower gradient. It is important to note that roads like Moorehouse and Scarsedale are already experiencing serious flooding problems whenever it rains after waterways in these roads were turned into residential stands.”

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