The chief executive of the Planning Authority told SNA that advances in design in construction mean that Seychelles must update its regulations. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) – A new Physical Planning Act in Seychelles will provide a revised framework for regulating land use planning to bring about sustainable development in the island nation.
The chief executive of the Planning Authority told SNA that advances in design in construction mean that Seychelles must update its regulations.
“When it was written in 1972, advancement in the construction field was not at the stage that it is in today. Another important aspect is that the current law leads us to be reactive rather than proactive in dealing with breaches of the Planning Act,” explained Angela Servina.
Servina added that: “The fines are way too insignificant to deter developers and contractors from breaking them. Hence, many developers and contractors have no regard for the law. We are certain that the reviewed fines, in line with today’s rates being proposed, will resolve this issue.”
“The new law will give the Planning Authority ‘teeth’ to bite where and when necessary,” added Servina, who is the first woman to ever head the authority.
The Seychelles’ cabinet of ministers on July 28 approved the repeal of the current Town and Country Planning Act (1972) and its replacement by the new Physical Planning Act.
The new law also makes provision for the posts of members of the Planning Authority Board to be advertised instead of being directly appointed.
That means suitable candidates will apply and go through an interview process prior to appointments being made by the president in consultation with the parent minister, explained Servina.
She added that “in addition, the Appeal Board will be appointed by the President upon nominations made by the Constitutional Appointment Authority.”
Nanette Laure, who represents the Ministry of Environment on the Planning Authority, said: “The new appeal board is very important because with the Town and Country Planning Act people could appeal directly to the Minister for Land Use, but now this will be done through the board which will allow for better and more independent decisions.”
With the new law residents of a particular district will be aware of a new development being proposed in their districts and can comment on the same. There is also a provision to secure beach accesses when development is proposed along the coast.
An architect who SNA spoke to and who requested his name not to be revealed said the old act should have not been repealed instead it should have been modernised. “Despite its age, the act does have good elements, reflected in constructions in the country and it is of a British standard.”
Indeed, the authority confirmed that there are provisions from the 1972 act that will remain. This includes provisions on how to deal with derelict and ruinous buildings and the production of land use and development plans for Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
“The same is the case for compensation by the government in respect to refusal issued by the authority on the grounds of environmental, public health, land use zoning and national heritage grounds,” added the chief executive of the Planning Authority.