Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Reporter
PROGRESSIVE developers of private land for housing who follow planning rules and develop their land properly will continue to benefit from and be supported by the government, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe said yesterday.
Speaking after visiting Arlington Estates in South West Harare, Minister Garwe, who was accompanied by his Deputy Yeukai Simbanegavi, praised the property developer for its responsiveness to government guidelines and rules.
The property developer was following the law and responding to the national policy that no house or apartment can be built until on-site service is provided and certificates of compliance are issued and title deeds processed. Services include roads, water and sewers.
“We are very happy that the developer is working with the government for its public-private partnership. The key role of government is to create an enabling environment to make sense of housing delivery and that is what is here.
“The developer has already handled about 600 deeds as it has provided road, water and sewer services. It kills animals called land barons and informal settlements,” he said.
Minister Garwe also stated that the property clearly corresponds to the precepts of the policy of densification of human settlements.
“That 40% of developable land must be reserved for densification. Here we have two-story buildings. These are all apartments that meet what we ask.
“Land is a finite resource. You cannot continue to expand expansively. You end up using the land set aside for agriculture for housing and then become a net importer of food,” he said.
Minister Garwe said the designs respond to climate change concerns.
“The type of roofs are modern, durable and affordable. We have around 1,300 homes here and when I say we’re going to exceed our target of 220,000 homes by 2025, that’s not just a talk show, it’s reality,” he said. .
“Imagine this development is about using brick and mortar technology. But now we have embraced the use of new technologies.
“Next month we will see the first block of flats using new technology that allows us to deliver at least 1,000 units per month.”
Minister Garwe said Arlington is a gated community that meets government expectations for smart cities.
“Gated communities where people can live, work and play. We have light industrial housing, factories and warehouses under construction, mall-only shopping malls and areas for social amenities as well as schools, clinics and playgrounds,” he said.
Arlington executive chairman Jeremy Brooke said the estate is a mixed-use development and his development company wants to try and offer a product for each different requirement.
“This is a private development, but we are working closely with the government to try to achieve their ambitions. Whatever role we play, we will.
“We, the government and the customers, all have ambitions. We intend to try to help them in every way we can to provide housing solutions for all,” he said.
Mr Brooke said there are self-contained houses some of which are built to huge levels. “We have the smaller clusters where you build a smaller house. We continue to cut to get to a level where we present an apartment like the two bedroom apartments.
“We also sell small stands that people can build their houses on. We try to create a mix of all the different demographic types in one area,” he said.
His company had been doing this for 20 years and would continue to do so for years to come. They are working on a new project in Ruwa which is 80% complete.
“We can’t play with land barons where people are paying huge sums of money every month and not getting title deeds,” Mr Brooke said.
Social facilities are essential when developing stands.
“When you’re doing mixed-use development, you need to be aware of all the developments. There needs to be schools, universities, sports fields and shopping malls, so it’s in our interest to design right.
“Therefore, we are very aware that Midlands State University needs a campus and we are prepared to donate any land we have to meet their needs in Mashonaland East,” Brooke said.