Ms Gifty Nyarko, the Physical Planning Director at the Sunyani West Municipality of the Bono region has stated that evidence of Land Titles (Lease, title deed, Statutory Declaration, Indentures and Allocation Notes) does not imply Development and Planning Permits.
Speaking to the media in an interview on Monday at Odumase, the Sunyani West Municipal capital, she, therefore, called for strict adherence to Section 96 (Sub Section 1-5), Section 97 and 113 of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, Act 925 (2016) when developing land for whatever purposes.
According to Ms Nyarko, before any person disposes of land, the person should comply with the regulations of Section 96 (sub Section 1-4) of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, Act 925 of 2016 which stipulates that “a person shall not dispose of land or property to a prospective buyer unless that person demonstrates to the prospective buyer that the land or property has been zoned or rezoned for the purpose for which it is being let or acquired or otherwise disposed of”.
This legal provision is further reiterated by Section 103, (sub-section 1-3) of the Local Governance Act, Act 936 of 2016 to help solve the rate of uncontrolled and haphazard physical developments in the country, she added.
Ms Nyarko was optimistic that complying with the provisions of the Sections of the Act would drastically reduce most of the social, economic and environmental problems in the country.
She was emphatic that having proof or evidence of the title of land whether lease, title deeds, indentures, statutory declarations and allocation notes does not imply development, planning or building permits.
Ms Nyarko indicated with worries that most of the time, the public assumes that as they have evidence of title to land means the power to develop without due regard to planning regulations and standards.
Ms Nyarko attested to the fact that Chiefs are the custodian of the land, (holders of allodial title to land).
However, “the power to develop the land into a specific use is the exclusive and legal mandate of the Assembly, not Chiefs or land owners”. She indicated strongly that the assembly is the sole body authorized by the Constitution for issuance of development and planning permits but not Chiefs or land owners. Saying, “most of the time, the allocations made by most of the Chiefs and land owners tend to contradict that of local development plans and any attempt by physical planners to explain to prospective developers always results in highly heated conflicts”.
Ms Nyarko in that regard entreated prospective developers to apply for development and planning permits before the commencement of the physical development project and to also adhere to the laid down principles and rules regarding the acquisition of land.
This would help prevent any misunderstanding that might occur between legally mandated land sector institutions and land users, she hoped.
Ms Nyarko accepted the fact that most of the time, developers get frustrated due to the bureaucratic nature of the permitting process.
She disclosed that “even though the new Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, thus Act 925, 2016 has simplified the process, there are still some Assemblies that are not adhering to the new permit flow chart and therefore applicants find themselves in the old cumbersome and time consuming permitting process”.
In this regard, she implored the various Assemblies to also do their part and the needful by adhering to the 30 working days mandated duration for permit approval in order to fast-track the process for applicants.
This according to her remains the surest way to reduce the rate of uncontrolled and haphazard physical developments in the country and facilitates a harmonious environment for land owners, developers and spatial development planning Officials.