Mponela Trading Centre may soon transform into a modern town after Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning Officials presented the area`s urban structure plan to stakeholders, guiding where residential, commercial, institutional and industrial plots among others, should be located.
Making a presentation on Friday at the function attended by some Dowa District Council Sector Heads, representatives of traditional leaders, concerned citizens, business community and Non-Governmental Organizations, among others, Principal Physical Planning Officer in the Department of Physical Planning, Suzan Nyirenda, said the plan was a blue print guiding where developers should construct.
She said the aim of the presentation was to report on progress made on the urban structure plan as well as solicit views from stakeholders on the same to be incorporated into the final plan due to be out very soon.
Nyirenda said the current map shows where low, medium, and high density residential structures should be constructed, besides allocating places for commercial, institutional, industrial, forest, hospital, graveyards, and stadium sites, among others.
She said the low density area with an average size of 25 x 40 metres per plot has been allocated 1126 plots, while medium and high density areas with average sizes of 20×40 and 15x 30 have been allocated 3,191 and 4,474 plots respectively.
The Principal Physical Planning Officer said besides the plots allocated to various commercial, residential and entertainment activities, the plan has a proposed by-pass road to avoid vehicle congestion in the upcoming town.
Nyirenda added that each residential area has been allocated a playground for entertainment as well as land for religious groups such as churches and Mosques.
Responding to the concern raised on why the plan did not address the issue of lack of spacious roads in the market place where there is congestion, the Physical Planning Officer in the Ministry, Pholius Chiphale, said upgrading of already developed locations require resolution from the community.
He asked the affected communities to make a formal request for upgrading of the said area to his department through Dowa District Council.
In his remarks, Acting Director of Planning and Development (DPD) for Dowa District Assembly, Martin Pindamkono, while assuring those who will be affected of compensation, asked traditional leaders to sensitise people against illegally developing areas earmarked for new plots.
He also announced that erecting of beacons will start next week and asked all concerned to cooperate with those who will be carrying out the exercise.
However, he downplayed concerns that it would be difficult for people to pave way for a road to and from a place earmarked for the bus depot, saying it’s the people of the area who, after consultations, allocated the place for the purpose.
“We already agreed here that the said place is where a new bus depot will stand, so it’s the people themselves who will show us where the road to and from the depot will pass, as a council, we will make sure that we implement those decisions,” he said.
The structure plan is will be taken back to the Department of Lands and Physical Planning where constructive views by the participants will be incorporated before presenting it to Dowa District Council for approval, according to Nyirenda.