Why You Need Town Planners for Development Projects in South Africa

Let’s talk about the role of town planners a bit. You drive on tarred roads, and generally, you will not have to deal with flooding on these roads during rains because of adequate provision for stormwater drainage. From public parks to schools, railways, intersections and even one-ways form part of the urban environment.

Then you see areas for industrial operations. These are usually separate from the residential areas. Little or no thought is given to why the urban landscape features a specific design, why specific areas are not built-up and why houses are not built right up to the riverbank. That is, until you need to sub-divide your property, want to consolidate land, require help with site plan submission to the municipality or want to convert a residential home into a restaurant. Only then does one realise the importance of town planners.

So, how do town planners keep themselves busy and useful?

Many of the tasks they perform are on local government level. They are involved in strategic & integrated spatial planning and land use management. And if you plan on converting your existing property into a townhouse complex, you will certainly appreciate their services related to:

• Due diligence to determine if the property is suitable for the intended purpose.
• Help with land use rights applications.
• Public participation process.
• Town planning advice.
• Site planning and development proposal submission.
• Zoning application.
• Sub-division of the property.
• Management of the project.
• Coordination with relevant professionals including the architect, environmental consultant, land surveyor, and engineer.
• Mapping – for a detailed site development plan.

Let’s talk about the services from town planners, directly relevant to you as a property owner or developer. This will help you gain insight as to why it is best to make use of their services right from the start of a development concept.

Application for land consolidation or sub-division

At present, your property can, for instance, have a single residential building on it. It is located in an area that allows for a higher density and you decide to sub-divide the property into two stands, enabling you to sell the stand at the back of the property. Simple enough? But what about access to the property? And utility lines? All of the sudden issues related to new utility lines, sewerage and a servitude to give access to the property come into play.

Whether or not there is enough space next to your home to allow for an access route to the property must be considered. Also, does your current Title Deed have restrictions on it? What is the minimum size stand allowed for in the area where you live? These and many other factors are considered by town planners. They help you with the due diligence process, handle the sub-division application on your behalf and work alongside professionals with the likes of land surveyors to identify servitudes and draw up relevant plans.

Resort planning and development proposals

Maybe you want to develop a holiday resort or perhaps a retirement village. Do you know which processes to follow in applying for the relevant land use rights? Town planners work with these on a daily basis. They help with the drawing of maps, site plans and applications. They also do the necessary property investigations to determine if the property can be used for the intended purpose.

If township establishment is needed, they are your go-to experts. In addition, they work with the environmental consultants to determine the environmental impact of the proposed development. Add to that, having to deal with public objections regarding the proposed development, and it becomes clear why you need town planners to help with property developments and relevant applications.

Overseeing projects

Many factors can cause delays in the development process. One or more community groups may object to your development proposals, causing a delay of months to years. How do you minimise the risk? How do you coordinate between environmental impact assessments, site plans, public participation meetings, architectural meetings and relevant applications to the municipality? It can become an administrative nightmare to coordinate everything.

Fortunately, town planners have extensive experience in pulling all the strings together and keeping tabs on responses or follow-ups required. Make use of our town planners to facilitate the development projects and free up valuable time while reducing the risk of application rejections and project delays.