Parliament has empowered the Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) to enforce strict adherence to planning schemes throughout the country to ensure a sustainable development of land and human settlements and the judicious use of land in the country through a decentralized planning system.
This follows the passage of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Bill 2016 by the House on Tuesday.
The bill is expected to strengthen the institutional capacity of the TCPD and transform it from a technical advisory body into a proactive regulatory institution that will play a significant role in ensuring conformity and compliance with spatial plans, zoning regulations and planning standards at the national, regional and district levels.
The bill was passed due to the concerns about the absence of a comprehensive legal framework for land use and spatial planning aims at consolidating, integrating and harmonizing existing legislations into one coherent law in support of the country’s decentralization programme.
The bill, which awaits presidential assent, is viewed by industry players and stakeholders as a major intervention to end the current practice where developers and individuals put up structures not in conformity with laid-out plans for particular areas.
The bill will enable planning authorities at the different levels of governance control and direct physical development in an orderly and harmonious manner in order to eliminate the development of slums and ensure a safe environment for all.
It is also expected to help enhance the quality of life through a consciously planned and adequate provision of socio-economic infrastructure and services, leisure and recreational facilities in the country.
The bill also establishes a Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA) to promote inter sectoral collaborations, plan and ensure easy identification and adequate access to services through a comprehensive street naming and property addressing systems.
A Report by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, Science and Technology, signed by its chairman and adopted by the House indicates that the bill wtll promote equitable spatial development, improve living standards in real areas as well as reduce the rural -urban drift in the country.
According to the report, development and controls of land are largely violated in the country as a result of the multiplicity of laws which make implementation very difficult hence the need for the bill.
The report noted that unregulated land development issues had created problems including haphazard development, neighborhood blight, automobile congestions and environmental degradation in the communities.
The bill, the report said, would create a conducive investment climate that would attract a wide spectrum of investors.
Land-use planning is the general term used for a branch of urban planning encompassing various disciplines which seek to order and regulate land use in an efficient and ethical way, thus preventing land-use conflicts.
In another development, the Technical Universities Bill, 2016 was taken through the Second Reading in the House granting it safe passage into the consideration stage for the consideration of proposed amendments.
The bill seeks to establish technical universities by converting existing polytechnics to technical universities to provide higher education with emphasis on science and technology oriented disciplines, technical and vocational education and training as well as applied arts and related.
Source :ISD (Gilbert Ankrah)
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