Ms Gifty Nyarko, the Physical Planning Director at the Sunyani West Municipality of the Bono region has called for strict adherence to Section 96 (Sub Section 1-5), Sections 97 and 113 of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, Act 925 (2016).
According to her, before anybody disposes of land, the person should adhere to section 96 subsection 1- 4 of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, Act 925 of 2016 which stipulates that ” a person shall not dispose of land or property to a prospective buyer unless that person demonstrates to the prospective buyer that the land or property has been zoned or rezoned for the purpose for which it is being let or acquired or otherwise disposed of. This legal provision is further reiterated by Section 103, sub-section 1-3 of the Local Governance Act, Act 936 of 2016 to help solve the rate of uncontrolled and haphazard physical developments in the country.
She was speaking to the media in an interview on Monday at Odomase, the Sunyani West Municipal capital of the Bono region.
Ms Nyarko was optimistic that adhering to the Sections of the Act would drastically reduce most of the country’s social, economic and environmental problems.
She emphasized that evidence of title to land whether lease, title deeds, indentures, statutory declarations and allocation notes are not development or planning permits.
She also indicated that most of the time, the public assumes that so far as they have evidence of title to land they have the power to develop without due regard to planning regulations and standards.
She indicated strongly that the assembly is the sole authority in the issuance of development and planning permits but not chiefs or land owners.
Ms Nyarko attested that Chiefs are the custodians of land (holders of allodial title to land).
However, she pointed out that the power to develop the land for a specific use is the exclusive mandate of the Assembly, not Chiefs or land owners.
She noted that most of the time, the allocations made by most of the Chiefs and land owners tend to contradict that of local plans and any attempt by physical planners to explain to prospective developers always results in highly heated conflicts.
Ms Nyarko entreated prospective developers to apply for development and planning permits before the commencement of physical developments and to also adhere to the laid down principles and rules regarding the acquisition of land to help prevent any misunderstanding that might occur between legally mandated land sector institutions and land users.
She disclosed that most of the time, developers get frustrated due to the bureaucratic nature of the permitting process.
Even though the new Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, thus Act 925, 2016 has simplified the process, there are still some assemblies that are not adhering to the new permit flow chart and therefore applicants find themselves in the old cumbersome and time-consuming permitting process.
In this regard, she stated that the various assemblies should also do their part by adhering to the 30 working days mandated duration for permit approval to fast-track the process for applicants. This according to her will go a long way to reduce the rate of uncontrolled and haphazard physical developments in the country.