What Town Planning Companies Do for Property Owners in South Africa

Town planning companies work with developers, individuals, municipalities, and spatial development committees. Not many people realise how important town planning companies are when it comes to services related to individual property owners. It is only when they want to rezone property or have trouble with neighbours about property boundaries or aspects regarding storm water drainage that they realise they need the expertise offered by town planning companies.

To help people understand the value of town planning companies, also on smaller scale projects, we briefly look at the role of the town planner regarding individual properties.

For one, the town planner helps the property owner to remove restrictions regarding building and development of the property. The town planning team from one of the town planning companies, such as The Practice Group, performs functions such as collecting and assessing information related to a particular piece of property, and based on the results of the analysis, advises the property owner on the best path to follow to have restrictions removed, to allow for optimal use of the property according to the property owner’s goals.

Town planning companies, furthermore, perform duties such as compiling applications and managing these on behalf the property. They do so in accordance with the regulations for applications and procedures contained in various acts, the relevant town planning schemes, and ordinances. Part of the compilation and management of application processes entails the coordination of other professionals, such as land surveyors, environmental consultants, architects, and engineers.

The town planning companies also provide advice and services regarding specific topics. These are discussed below:

Township Establishment

This entails the transformation of agriculturally zoned land into township land, thus allowing for a higher density of buildings and use of the land for purposes other than agricultural.


In order to use a piece of land for a purpose other than what it is zoned for at present, the property owner must apply for rezoning of the property. If a property is zoned as residential land and the property owner wants to use it for a commercial purpose, a rezoning application must be made. This is done with the help of one of the town planning companies. Business rights on a residential property can only be obtained if rezoning is done. It can be a lengthy and expensive process, and making mistakes with the application can lead to delays in rezoning. As such, it is recommended to make use of the expertise offered by town planning companies in this regard to avoid costly pitfalls and delays.

Land Consolidation and Sub-Division

Town planners also assist property owners with sub-division and land consolidation applications. Sub-division is when a parcel of land is divided into more portions. This can be for the selling of a piece of the land or perhaps for building units on each of the properties as part of a development project. Land consolidation is when two or more parcels of land are combined into a single piece of property. One may, for instance, want to do so if you want to create a resort on two adjacent properties.

Restrictions on the Title Deed of the Property

Town planning companies help clients to remove inflexible restrictions on the title deeds of their properties. This is called removal of restrictive conditions.

Determining What Can Be Done on a Particular Piece of Property

The town planning companies perform due diligence functions, enabling clients to determine what they can or cannot do with their properties. This includes the full site assessment, collection of information about land use controls over the property, and recommendations on what can be done to have restrictions removed.

Registering a Servitude

Where the property owner wants to register a right of way on property, they can apply for such with the help from a town planner. The servitude provides right of way in favour of another party on a particular piece of property. Registration of a piece of property is done at the Deeds Office and is done with the assistance of a qualified property conveyancing attorney.

Town planners are thus not just concerned with large urban development projects. They also provide essential services to individual property owners in South Africa.