GIS - 07 December, 2015: A workshop on the Review of the Planning Legislation brought together stakeholders from various ministries and institutions this morning at Cyber Tower 1, Ebène, with the aim of gathering their views and proposals to review and consolidate the planning laws into one piece of legislation to ensure that it responds to today’s challenges as well as to bring more legibility and permeability to the process.
The Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Lands, Mr Showkutally Soodhun, and the Minister of Local Government, Dr Anwar Husnoo, were present at the opening ceremony.
In his address, the Vice-Prime Minister announced that the new planning legislation will pave the way for the setting up of a National Planning Commission which will take over the functions of the Town and Country Planning Board. “The Commission,” he said, “will have strong powers to coordinate and promote an integrated approach to land use and transport and give the right orientation on land development matters.”
The Vice-Prime Minister recalled that the initiative to review the planning legislation is in line with Government Programme 2015-2019 which stresses the necessity for the development of a new strategic land use planning framework to achieve major social and development objectives. “Our limited land resources call for a judicious allocation to achieve the highest level of economic growth for existing and future generations,” he stated.
According to Mr Soodhun, the country is facing challenges on various fronts, namely, climate change, disaster planning, housing, and agricultural production, which all have to be addressed in an integrated manner. “We have to promote a culture of sustainable planning at both national and local authority levels,” he pointed out.
The Vice-Prime Minister is of the view that streamlining and self-adherence to norms and standards should go hand in hand with appropriate responsible behaviour from developers. Mr Soodhun said that though there is a need for less administration and red tape in line with the ease of doing business, the requirement for more law abiding citizens is critical. “Rules will be set so that applications are determined in a timely manner without compromising on quality of technical assessment,” he added.
It is noted that the Town and Country Planning Act, which provides the legislative framework for the plan making procedures, was established in 1954, while the Planning and Development Act 2004, which sets forth a number of planning instruments to cater for different types of developments, is only partially proclaimed.
The purposes of the review are thus to bring clarity in the planning process by retaining working features of existing planning legislations and consolidating them into one main legislation; introduce new measures to address contemporary challenges and issues; redefine the roles and responsibilities of planning bodies; attend to the question of infrastructure planning, funding and implementation; put forward development contributions to sustain the development process; provide linkages with the permitting and appeal functions; and define parameters for the assessment and determination of permits and appeals.
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