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Bulawayo to expand city centre, avail 7000 housing stands

by Staff reporter
28 Nov 2021 at 07:55hrs | Views
BULAWAYO is set to expand its Central Business District (CBD) which will see it stretch up to Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue and also avail additional housing stands around the city as it seeks to expand beyond its borders.

The city is also seeking to establish district commercial centres. This, together with a host of other development aspirations, is contained in the City of Bulawayo Master Plan for the years 2019 to 2034, which is on public exhibition at the Large City Hall until 3 January next year. The public is encouraged to view the Master Plan and make recommendations.

The Master Plan for Bulawayo was prepared in 2000, which was a review of the 1982 Master Plan, the first such plan produced in Zimbabwe under the then 1976, Regional, Town and Country Planning Act. The Master Plan is presented as a land utilisation guide and framework which indicates how land resources in the Planning Area are best suited for which uses and how they should be developed over the time frame of the plan.

The local authority notes that the Draft Master Plan document is intended as a draft development guide which serves as a strategic – indicative forward planning tool meant to guide decisions on land development and utilisation in the Planning Area.

According to the Master Plan, the CBD will be expanded with an urban design framework and Local Development Plan set to be commissioned which focuses on public space, landscaping, and building design guidelines.

"Areas after Third Avenue towards Masotsha will form the nucleus of the development of a revitalised and expanded CBD aimed at retaining its primacy in terms of higher order retail, civic and community, commercial/office activities and residential components of higher density.

"In an effort to ensure that developments in the district commercial centres and along major transport corridors do not drain the CBD, major renovations and new construction activities of a higher quality which are capable of supporting existing businesses and attracting new ones will be given priority," reads part of the Master Plan.

The local authority also plans to construct district commercial centres that will be developed as mixed precincts -retail, office and service activities- and may also include residential properties.

"The first precinct is to be developed after Third Avenue, towards Masotsha Avenue as a mixed use development and developments to include office, civic and community, commercial and residential with no industrial activities. The second mixed use precinct is to be developed along the entire spine of the Bulawayo–Beitbridge activity corridor and specifically on the first row of plots fronting the corridor. Design considerations to include traffic impacts, access and parking, architectural character and landscaping, infrastructural capacities and compatibility of land uses amongst others," reads the plan.

The local authority is also looking at the development of an integrated Sports Complex, which will be developed on a 24 hectare site, yet to be identified. The complex will comprise an international standard soccer pitch and athletics track with grand stands, facilities for all sporting codes such as netball, volley ball, tennis and training pitches.

"Other facilities to be developed will include a sporting hall for indoor games, restaurants, administration offices and Olympic size swimming pool. The integrated sports complex should have a full complement of training facilities, hostels and staff accommodation. The sports facility to be developed must be geared towards sports training and development as well as for competitive sports capable of attracting international sporting events to Bulawayo. The Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation in collaboration with the City of Bulawayo should be given the responsibility of developing the integrated Sports Complex, including the preparation of detailed plans for the proposed development," reads the plan.

In terms of expansion, the Master Plan makes proposals for the expansion of the City through the incorporation of land adjacent to the city boundary. These additional properties are under the jurisdiction of Umzingwane and Umguza Rural District councils.

"Identified vacant land within the built up areas of Bulawayo should be developed first before considering expanding outside the existing municipal boundary. In an effort to utilise land within the municipal boundary a number of layouts have been prepared by the municipality. Some of these areas have a number of stands as per layouts already prepared.

"A concept plan has been prepared for Rangemore area and shows a clear road network linking with nearby Bulawayo's high density residential areas of Emganwini and Nkulamane. However, there is a need to monitor the extent to which developers are implementing in line with the proposals of the concept plan," reads the plan.

The plan further notes that in Upper Rangemore there are 1 030 hectares of land available for residential development while eight private properties in the area have approved layouts with a total of 412 hectares and development  will continue in the master plan period. The local authority has also identified 5 800 hectares at Helenvale Block  adjacent to Cowdray Park which forms a natural expansion of the city.

The local authority notes the need to confirm ownership of various properties and embark on processes of negotiation for land acquisition wherever possible. The city has a housing backlog of about 125 000, and has been struggling to clear the backlog despite a number of emerging housing projects.

Source - The Sunday News