Friday, January 02, 2009
Written by Chibaula Silwamba
Friday, January 02, 2009 3:10:44 PM
THE Lusaka City Council (LCC) has maintained its rejection of the proposed expansion of Manda Hill shopping complex in Lusaka despite President Rupiah Banda and Ministry of Local Government and Housing's authorisation for the continuation of the project. Commenting on local government and housing minister Benny Tetamashimba's revelation that his ministry had allowed the developer for Manda Hill shopping complex to go ahead, LCC public relations manager Chanda Makanta said the council still maintained its rejection of the proposed extension of the shopping complex.
“The council has not allowed the extension,” said Makanta in an interview.
Early last year, the LCC rejected the proposed US $30 million worth extension of Manda Hill shopping complex because the developers wanted to take away a large portion of the car park, among other issues.
But the developers of Manda Hill shopping complex appealed to the then local government minister Sylvia Masebo who upheld the council's decision. The developers further appealed to late president Levy Mwanawasa, who also upheld the decision of the council and rejected the proposed expansions.
In September, the Town and Country Planning Tribunal ruled that Manda Hill Centre Limited be allowed to develop the additional building to the existing shopping complex.
And according to the Monday edition of the Zambia Daily Mail, Tetamashimba revealed that his ministry had authorised the expansions to go ahead following a directive from President Banda.
But Makanta said in an interview during the week that although the council supports development, it was opposed to the expansion of the Manda Hill shopping complex because that would inconvenience people and cause traffic congestion on the Great East Road.
“Manda Hill developers may think that because of the outcome of the Tribunal, they may have the go ahead with the construction. But as the council, what we decided at first still stands,” Makanta said.
“They made a proposal to us that they make alterations and additions to the existing structures at Manda Hill Centre but they have to take some things into consideration, which from the look of things they have been ignoring.”
Makanta said Manda Hill proprietors had not fulfilled the requirements in the title that were given to them when they started construction of the shopping mall.
“The things that they had to consider were; (1) the municipal park. That area in front is supposed to be a municipal park where when people go for shopping at the shopping complex, they can use it for relaxation or parents that go shopping they can leave their children playing in the municipality park,” Makanta said.
“We had agreed initially that when they were developing the shops, they develop a municipal park in accordance with the original design which we the council advertised, which they haven't done.”
Makanta said the LCC had also requested the Manda Hill developer to submit a plan regarding the way they were going to create extra parking space.
“Maybe they can have car parks on top of the building the way it's done in other countries,” she said. “We had also asked them to take into consideration the traffic movement.
They had proposed that they make an extension to Mr Price shop but their making an extension meant they block the car park at the BP filling station which meant that people would not be driving that side so as the council we refused. We can't do that.”
Makanta said building other structures on the car park space would entail further reducing the already small parking space at Manda Hill.
“So we didn't allow that. Apart from the traffic that goes into Manda Hill Centre, people on the Great East Road were also going to be affected; there were not going to be proper movements of traffic,” Makanta said.
“The other thing was accessibility. The closure of the eastern side at BP filling station would have left limited access into and out of Manda Hill shopping centre. So we thought that, that would cause congestion on the Great East Road.”
Makanta said the position of the council was that the municipal park, traffic movement and accessibility to the shopping mall mattered a lot.
“…in the sense that they are real and they must be addressed otherwise sooner or later, traffic generated by the shopping complex will affect traffic flow onto Great East Road,” Makanta said. “The Manda Hill developer also contended sub C where the municipal park ought to have been developed.
They didn't develop it as it stated on the title [deed], which they hold. We proposed that the structures and the car park be constructed on that piece of land onto the Manda Hill Road [behind the complex]. The plan was allowed by the Town and Country Planning Tribunal, that is what the Tribunal allowed that they construct a car park behind the complex.
“Manda Hill should have two way opening, one on Great East Road and another behind the complex on Manda Hill Road so that people are able to use both sides as entrances and exits. But they look at that like an expense but we insist that they should abide by what we instructed.”
Makanta advised that foreign investors like Manda Hill developers should not only be interested in making money at the expense of the benefit of the general public.
“As the council, we don't want to discourage development. We are for development but we want this development to be done in an orderly manner,” said Makanta. “We really want the Manda Hill developer to do the development without causing confusion to the public. As the situation stands, the council has not allowed the extension.”