Praslin districts’ land use plans get statutory status


10-May-2013

This follows the signing last month by the Land Use and Housing Minister Christian Lionnet of an official gazette notice making the draft land use plans for the two districts a statutory instrument – a first in the history of Seychelles.

This means that all constructions, developments and investment projects have to be made as per the plans and no review is possible before the next five to 10 years.

Terry Biscornet, a consultant working with the Seychelles Planning Authority, said until now all draft land use plans drawn have only been used as planning development and investment guidelines which could be subjected to reviews and they have never reached statutory status level.

He said the government came up with the decision to give statutory status to land use plans for each district a couple of years ago in its effort to help the planning authority to better organise its operations and decision-making  and make easier the work of draftsmen and architects.  As for land and property owners, such a decision to legalise land classification will give them a clear idea of the types of construction or development projects they can or cannot carry out on their land.

For potential investors consulting the plans, they would be better informed of the different areas earmarked for different types of projects.

The planning authority received help from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to do the project of drafting land use plans for each district. The different plans have already been completed and were finalised in January this year and have been submitted to the cabinet.

The drafts of the first four plans for La Digue, Anse Royale, Baie Ste Anne and Grand Anse Praslin were gazetted and submitted for public consultation, inspection so they can voice any objections or make suggestions in view of having the plans readjusted where required before receiving final approval.

Mr Biscornet said the plans for Praslin have already been approved, as for that of La Digue it has been delayed while the authorities await the results of a carrying capacity study for the island which has just been done.

“With regard to the plan for Anse Royale there are some issues which are still being analysed,” said Mr Biscornet. He added that the plans for the two Praslin districts were straight forward and there were not many objections and issues raised.

To prevent delays with regard to legalising land classification in the plans for the remaining districts, Mr Biscornet said it is important for the public, land and property owners to go and inspect the plans when they are called upon to do so as it is important for any future projects and development they may have.

“It is important that all persons concerned seek clarifications and inspect the draft plans to see how the use of their property has been classified  before everything is finalised as another review will not be possible until after five to 10 years,” added Mr Biscornet.

All districts are expected to have their land use plan become a statutory document before the end of the year or early next year if all goes according to plan, Mr Biscornet said.

The public, land and property owners will be called upon in due course to come and inspect the draft plans of the plans and Mr Biscornet said it is important for everyone concerned to do the exercise as it will affect any future plans or projects they may have to develop on their property.

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