509 stands for new Bulawayo medium-density suburb Clr Solomon Mguni

Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
BULAWAYO City Council has unveiled plans to establish a new medium-density residential suburb on 156,445 hectares near Bellevue to cater for clients who require larger space, a development that will immensely reduce the city’s housing backlog.

The proposed site has a provision of 509 stands. At present, the city housing waiting list is close to 200 000 as the council has over the years struggled to meet the demand for stands.

The proposed residential area is located approximately six kilometres South-West of the Central Business District, off Plumtree Road, and is bounded by Plumtree Road, Derby Road, and Newton West suburb.

The earmarked zone has a 40 percent reservation for flats and cluster housing stands in line with Government’s thrust on emerging settlements.

The set policy guidelines demand that at least 40 percent of new housing projects should be reserved for the construction of high-rise buildings to curb the unrestricted spread of settlements and promote modern housing infrastructure.

According to the latest council monthly report tabled before a full council yesterday, the Town Planning Director, Mr Wisdom Siziba, said the proposed residential layout on B2 of Bellevue seeks to provide medium-density residential stands to cater for residents who require bigger stands. He said the proposed 509 residential stands measure 25 metres by 40 metres, covering an average area of 1000m2 in extent.

Mr Siziba said the demand for residential stands was increasing on a daily basis as evidenced by the council waiting list, which now was fast approaching the 200 000 mark.

“The proposed residential development plan will go a long way in eradicating the housing shortages in the city. Cities must create human settlements where people will live, work and play and all these were incorporated in the layout,” he said.

Bulawayo City Hall

“The major goal when coming up with this layout was to fulfill the sustainability mandate of creating human settlements that are safe, inclusive, and livable.”

In his 2022 annual year message, city mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni, highlighted that last year, the local authority allocated a total of 498 stands, with those allocated to individuals under the presale scheme in Pumula South totalling 117.

A total of 1 680 stands were allocated to private developers for servicing and are yet to be allocated to beneficiaries upon completion of servicing, he said.

Tower block

Mr Siziba noted that in designing the proposed medium-density residential suburb, several town planning issues were taken into consideration.

Based on the proposed outlay, the area has 14 stands to accommodate flats or townhouses, one site for both primary and secondary school construction, three stands for community facilities, one commercial stand, and six open space sites.

Already there is an existing hotel site that was developed and fully operational known as Derby Hotel.

“One commercial centre site had been proposed to cater to the needs of the community. This would be adequate since there was an existing shopping centre in Bellevue as well,” said Mr Siziba.

On proposed new infrastructure, the area will be connected to the existing water lines. The neighbouring suburbs – Bellevue and Newton West – already have water connections. The sewer lines will be connected to the proposed outfall sewer.

On electricity, he said it is the responsibility of ZESA, and will be relatively affordable, as it already exists in nearby suburbs such as Bellevue and Newton West and also there was an existing underground and overhead cable traversing the area from the ZESA substations from in and around the proposed development.

Council has since resolved to adopt the layout plan to be submitted to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works for approval in terms of Section 205 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15). Giving an update on other housing projects in the city, Mr Siziba said layout plans for Highmount Phase 2 cater for 350 low-density stands and 840 stands in Killarney East low-density have been forwarded to the ministry for approval.

Zimbabwe has a national housing backlog of around 1,5 million units and access to affordable and decent accommodation is a critical component of the Government’s vision to create an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1)

Under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which spans 2021-2025, the housing delivery pillar is expected to deliver 220 000 housing units by 2025 through collective efforts from stakeholders, and all parties involved in human settlements.

Demand for housing has risen over the years in tandem with population growth, and in a bid to accelerate the provision of housing, the Government has adopted several strategies to ensure access to housing by the majority of citizens.

These include the construction of new smart cities around major towns and cities with pilot projects targeted at Figtree, Melfort, and Chirundu.

Already the transformation of Figtree settlement into a smart city has started taking shape with technical teams working with Bulilima Rural District Council as Government moves to fully implement the smart cities concept in line with the recently launched climate policy.

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