Chikwawa District Council has formulated an Urban Structure Plan which seeks to transform the district into a modern town.
The formulation of the Urban Structure Plan follows the launch of Chikwawa District Physical Development Plan last month by the Deputy Minister of lands Honorable Abida Mia.
The Urban Plan which has so far been approved by the council’s full members, among other things seeks to regulate how residential, industrial and administrative areas are to be developed in the district.
Speaking during an interview after the council’s full members approved the plan recently, Council Chairperson for Chikwawa district assembly Councillor Gerald Bede said the district lagged behind in terms of infrastructural development due to lack of proper town planning guidelines.
“You see; people have built houses near government offices. Markets have been turned into residential areas. People have encroached into areas where factories were to be constructed. We want to put a stop to this,” said council chair councillor Gerald Bede.
Councillor Bede added that the Chikwawa Urban plan seeks to transform the district’s major markets of Dyeratu, Nchalo and Ngabu into major towns.
On his part, District Commissioner for Chikwawa Ali Phiri said the council shall enforce strict adherence to the set guidelines in developing administrative, industrial and residential areas going forward.
The Chief Planning Officer for the Physical Planning Department in the Ministry of Lands and Housing Jailos Lungu who presented the urban plan to Chikwawa District Executive Committee (DEC) members said all councils in the country are required to formulate their own development plans in line with the Physical Planning Act of 2016 to ensure ownership of such developments.
Among other things, the Chikwawa Urban structure plan has allocated a new site where the new Dyeratu market is already under construction to decongest the existing market.
In the plan, the district’s hospital is also to be relocated to a new site for its expansion as the old site where the hospital was constructed is partially overtaken by the Shire river there by making its expansion difficult.
With two of the country’s major factories of Illovo and Prescane located in the district, the district has a single bank around Chikwawa boma area with other banks situated in Nchalo about 20 Kilometres away from the Chikwawa boma. The district also lacks a community stadium and a good road network.