Town planning simplified

New concept includes changes in residential building density

04 February 2020 | Local News

Swakopmund • [email protected]



With the new Town Planning Amendment Scheme Number 71, Swakopmund has reason to celebrate: Not only will it change the face of the town, it will be much easier to do so. While the document still has to be Gazetted, the document is legally binding.

With the new comprehensive town planning scheme, the document dating from 2002 has been revised.

“We have also integrated many years of changes into this document,” town planner Ritta Khiba said in an interview recently.

Together with town planner Barry Watson, they authored the approximately 100-page document at the behest of town council.
Among the most important changes are residential building density (density factor) as well as the basic area count (bulk factor).

For apartment building density, the new scheme allows a ratio of 1:50, which means that in future, one apartment can be approved per 50m². This is regarded as a particularly low figure, because the lower end of the norm in Namibia is no less than 1: 100.

A further significant change is to the basic area count, which determines the area that a developer needs to build on an erf. In the new scheme, developers can ask that this restriction be lifted.

“However, we have taken precautions to avoid creating a concrete jungle,”

Khiba said. Based on this, developers with a high residential construction density are obliged to integrate a “community space” on a certain part of an erf “to create an attractive picture”.

Furthermore, the scheme introduces so-called flexible land use, which allows for more land use (zoning) in one area. In addition, the document contains a provision intended to curb the establishment of so-called AirBnBs. Accordingly, home developers of need to plan an easily accessible kitchen and additional kitchens need a special permit from town council.

“I find the new scheme perfectly acceptable,” said town council member Wilfried Groenewald (SRA). “It is much easier.”

The presentation of town council’s new schemes created some confusion during the week, with some residents under the impression that instead of the new design scheme, the controversial swimming pool development at the Mole would be presented.

“Actually, we are speechless. Almost everyone asked about this development. However, this scheme and the development have nothing to do with each other,” Khiba said.

According to him it will be re-presented again in three months and it should be published in the Gazette in this year.

Parallel to the new scheme, work is being done on a roadmap for Swakopmund, which will determine the future of the coastal town.

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