Saturday, January 24, 2009

Manda Hill Ltd bemoans row over proposed developments

Manda Hill Ltd bemoans row over proposed developments
Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Saturday, January 24, 2009 8:57:24 AM

CONTINUED wrangles regarding the proposed proposed developments of Manda Hill shopping complex has been a very frustrating experience, Manda Hill Centre Limited (MHCL) has complained.

And MHCL has insisted that Lusaka City Council (LCC) has wrongfully continued to claim that it is the owner of a portion of land which MHCL intends to use for the extension of part of the shopping centre.

MHCL described the recent media reports surrounding the US $32 million works as factually incorrect, misleading and behind the times.

MHCL also revealed that former local government minister Sylvia Masebo supported the proposed re-development of Manda Hill shopping complex but advised the developers to proceed with the works through the LCC.

Early this month, the LCC 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. LCC public relations manager Chanda Makanta, who was 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, said the council still maintained its rejection of the proposed extension of the shopping complex.

But MHCL, in a press release, stated: “We wanted to provide further additional parking bays for Manda Hill customers and approached the [former] minister [Masebo] to lease the adjacent land for this purpose. MHCL wrote to and subsequently held a meeting with [former] Minister Masebo to discuss the leasing of the land to the west of Manda Hill for this purpose. [Former] Minister Masebo supported the application but requested that MHCL approach the Local Council in this regard, which was done.”

MHCL also claimed that it never approached the late president Levy Mwanawasa or other ministers in office to gain approval of the building plans.

“The only time that MHCL had a meeting with a senior government leader was to discuss the leasing of land. The entire process has been a very frustrating experience for Manda Hill’s tenants, loyal customers, MHCL and its majority shareholder HBW Group (Pty) Ltd who is investing substantial amounts of money in Zambia,” MHCL stated. “MHCL would also like to further place on record that they have and always will follow process and have never attempted to ‘bypass the law’ by ‘addressing themselves directly to government leaders as alleged in the aforementioned article in The Post.”

MHCL also claimed that the LCC, in August 2007, in-principal approved the Shoprite extension only and that the local authority did not comment on the remainder of the scheme and the additional land.

“MHCL denied this and provided supporting documentation. While the land dispute continued, MHCL were advised to proceed with construction, commencing with the Shoprite expansion as approval from the LCC was a matter of process and would take some time. In October 2007, a revised set of building plans was submitted to the LCC which incorporated a minor additional retail component enhancing the overall scheme. During the period from when the original plans were submitted and up until December 2007, 11 letters were sent to the LCC and nine meetings were held with various officials from the LCC in an attempt to obtain the approvals and resolve the land issue. This was done without any success,” MHCL stated.

And MHCL has accused LCC of having wrongfully continued to claim that they were the owners of a portion of land which MHCL was proposing to use for the extension of part of the shopping centre.

Management of the country’s biggest shopping centre stated that they were “forced” to seek relief through the Town and Country Planning Tribunal after attempts to amicably resolve the matter with the LCC on numerous occasions failed.

“In January 2008, the LCC finally released a statement that the building plans were approved but included in this approval various conditions which in fact made it impossible to commence with construction. In addition, these conditions noted that construction could not commence until the land issue had been resolved,” MHCL claimed. “The ruling by the Tribunal effectively gave MHCL immediate approval to proceed with the extension and upgrade of Manda Hill. Unfortunately, Shoprite, by virtue of rights contained in their lease, insisted that the additional parking proposed in terms of the original scheme be provided.”

MHCL also stated that it accordingly revised the plans to include a new multi-level parking deck which the LCC had advised previously.

“The amended plans were submitted to the LCC on December 2nd 2008 and MHCL now await an in-principal approval from the LCC,” stated MHCL.

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At 1:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has Manda Hill Been given full approval to expand? I would like to know the exact reason they are not letting this project go through.


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