Rutendo Rori Herald Correspondent
There has been a massive response by residents from six suburbs that were warned by Harare City Council to either get their housing plans regularised or risk demolitions.
The city’s acting corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said yesterday that council was overwhelmed by the huge response.
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“We are having a huge response by people coming to submit plans for approval and we are very much excited with the turnout and enthusiasm by the residents to regularise their stay in the new suburbs,” said Mr Chideme.
As a result, Mr Chideme said, district offices in Waterfalls, Mabelreign, Mt Pleasant and Borrowdale had been instructed to accept the housing plans instead of them being submitted to head office.
The affected residents are from Gletwyn, Mt Pleasant Heights, Pomona, Belvedere West, Prospect/Mainway subdivision of Stand Number 830 and South of Ashdown Park along Harare Drive.
The letter written by council to its district offices reads: “Kindly be advised that architectural plans in respect of the above subdivision permits can now be submitted for examination and approval prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Compliance as ordinarily required in the permit.
“This position is being taken to facilitate orderly development on the said stands considering the infrastructural developments undertaken on site to date.”
Mr Chideme said residents of the affected suburbs used engineers who were not from council, so there was need to ensure that their buildings were in line with the city’s requirements.
He urged residents in the affected areas to avoid inconveniences and loss of investments by submitting their building plans with their respective district offices without further delay.
The city, which did not give the property owners a time-frame, said it would move in to demolish the properties if they fail to submit their building plans.
Last year, council embarked on an exercise to demolish illegal structures in the city and recently over 200 illegal structures along High Glen and Kambuzuma roads, whose owners belong to 32 bogus housing cooperatives, were demolished.
The city is also demolished some houses at an illegal residential settlement along Airport Road built on land meant for the expansion of Harare International Airport.
Harare City Council said it will continue the demolition of illegal structures in all suburbs as efforts to bring sanity in the housing sector intensifies.
It also said the demolition of houses by unregistered housing cooperatives and the operation of tuckshops which were phased out in 2005 is set to continue.
The city has not serviced land for residential stands for the past 20 years, leaving the door open for the mushrooming of illegal settlements and unscrupulous land barons who stepped in to exploit a growing housing backlog.