NATION

Town And Country Planning Laws Under Review, Draft Bill To Be Ready By Year End

“These legislations are more than 70 years old, enacted before our independence when planning principles were being introduced,” she said.
05 Nov 2020 08:57
Town And Country Planning Laws Under Review, Draft Bill To Be Ready By Year End
Minister for Housing Premila Kumar at the Suva Civic Centre on November 3, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Only accredited bodies will be allowed to present building plans for approval.

This is among the changes proposed in the Town and Country Planning and Subdivision laws. A consultation with Government agencies and private stakeholders was held yesterday at the Civic Centre in Suva. This is being done so that the Town Planning Act Cap.139, and the Subdivision of Land Act Cap are on par with international planning standards.

Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Premila Kumar, said the Town Planning Act was enacted in 1946, and the Subdivision of Land Act in 1937.

“These legislations are more than 70 years old, enacted before our independence when planning principles were being introduced,” she said.

“Since then a few amendments were made in 1978, which are not on par with international planning standards or benchmarks. Therefore, my ministry, with the services of Nadkam Consultants, is reviewing both the legislations to make it more relevant to our needs.”

The outcome of the review is to streamline the planning approval processes and strengthen development controls to minimise uncontrolled, poorly regulated development.

The review would also consider decentralising approvals so that only major developments are forwarded to the office of the Town and Country Planning for approval.

“It is a proven fact that the Referral Agencies and Professional Bodies, who are present here today, play an important role in the implementation of development projects around the country,” Ms Kumar said.

“At Suva City Council 200 building applications were deemed to be sub-standard in 2019.

“When I say sub-standard it means that plans are not drawn to scale, there are issues of structural integrity and detail designs are merely copy and paste.

“Unfortunately, the existing Town Planning legislation does not provide any form of guidance as to who can lodge building applications.”

The target set by the Department of Town and Country Planning is to have the draft bill ready by the end of the year.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj


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