Establish the Planning and Building Inspectorate Unit to Curb Uncontrolled haphazard development – Spatial Planner to MMDAs

By thefourlens.com 

Odumase, February 16, 2024

Establishment of Planning and Building Inspectorate Unit at all the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) is vital for orderly spatial developments of the country.

The unit would help curb the phenomenon of uncontrolled haphazard development.

Planner Gifty Nyarko, the head of Physical Planning Department of the Sunyani West Municipal Assembly, said on Thursday in an interview with thefourlens.com news.

According to her, most Assemblies don’t have the unit, therefore called for more attention to its establishment for effective spatial planning as well as ensuring compliance to other regulations governing human settlements.

The Planner (Ms Nyarko) observed that compliance with the spatial planning regulations has not been effective over the years, coupled with inadequate resources such as logistics and vehicles allocated to work with, hence, the critical need for the unit.

Most of the time the unit do not have the requisite tools for the monitoring and supervision, citing that the staff usually resort to visual observation in assessing the quality of a concrete or building,  which is always not reliable, she stated.

The Land Use and Spatial Planning Act

Ms Nyarko said the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925) mandates all MMDAs to establish the unit to reduce environmental challenges and haphazard physical developments.

According to her, Section 158 and 159 of the Regulations of the Act states that officers of the unit shall monitor physical developments to ensure compliance with the approved permits and with the provisions of the Act. 

Over the years, Ms Nyarko noted there existed only Building Inspectorate Units made up of only staff of the works Department with little or no consideration to the planning matters.  

In some instances, these units are manned by sub professional class of staff who may not have the requisite skills and technical competency in structural details and spatial planning. 

But, with the passage of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, Act 925 of 2016, the unit now comprises of staff of Works Department and Physical Planning Department to oversee development control issues, she hoped.

Ms Nyarko elaborated with the new unit, the building inspector would be interested in checking the building, the quality of building materials and structural integrity whiles the spatial planner will also be looking at planning aspects such as zoning regulations encompassing land use compatibility or suitability of the proposed project, setbacks and accessibility among others. 

The red paint ‘Stop Work, Produce Permit’

Ms Nyarko said the use of red paint as ‘stop work produce permit’ is “outmoded”.

The Assemblies “should not only be interested in revenue from stop work, produce permit” but focus rather on providing technical advice to developers, she explained. 

She further indicated that section 160 of the Act outlines the format of enforcement notices, stop work notices and forms that Assemblies are supposed to use to serve developers but not using red paint to write stop work produce permit.

Ms Nyarko said after Planning and Development Permit has been granted, it is incumbent on the Planning and Building Inspectorate Unit to go for regular monitoring and supervision to give developers technical advice to ensure full compliance with the permit conditions and also ensure that developments are not carried out without permit to curtail any haphazard development and unsafe human settlements.

The Planner therefore called on the public and the District Assemblies to strictly adhere to the Regulations to reduce environmental challenges and haphazard physical developments in the country.

Thefourlens.com

thefourlensofficial@gmail.com

Writer’s email: ttchrietoph1@gmail.com

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