THE Bulawayo City Council has passed a resolution to establish an new high density suburb with more than 2 000 stands, at a time when the new mortgage lender, the National Building Society (NBS) has announced that it will deliver 10 000 units of houses this year across the country with priority given to Harare and Bulawayo.
The new suburb to be known as Norwood Tracks Phase One is located in an area adjacent to Cowdray Park Phase One.
According to the latest council report, the new suburb is meant to cater for the low income earners as well as self-employed members of the society. The local authority has since submitted plans for the new suburb to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for approval.
“The proposed Norwood Tracks Phase One residential development is meant to cater for the low income earners as well as self-employed members of the society, who are increasing in numbers on a daily basis as evidenced by the council waiting list which now is fast approaching the
200 000 mark.
“The area is located approximately 11 kilometres north-west of the Central Business District, off the Cowdray Road. The site lies adjacent to the existing Cowdray Park Phase one suburb. To the south-east the site is bounded by the famous Ngozi Mine, to the south by Umvumila Industrial Site. In terms of the operative city of Bulawayo Master Plan, the proposed site is zoned for agricultural or residential development,” read part of the report.
The suburb measures a total of 165,68 hectares and the area will be connected to the existing water lines in Cowdray Park.
“There will be 2 020 residential stands proposed, each covering an average area of between 200 square metres in extent. In addition to these, a flat or detached housing is left aside to accommodate more deserving members of the society.
“There are open spaces within the planning area with the largest located along streams which traverse the planning area, particularly on the stream banks. On these spaces the planting of lawn, deciduous trees and shrubs will be encouraged. By doing so, the original flora and fauna will be kept intact within the built environment,” reads part of the report.
Among the institutional sites which will be located at the new suburb include community facility sites, local authority sites, a secondary school site, and sites for place of assembly. The local authority has also put in place two commercial sites in the suburb to cater for the community.
In terms of electricity, the local authority noted that connecting the new suburb will be relatively cheap, as in Luveve, an adjacent suburb there are facilities and there is an existing underground and overhead cable traversing the area from the Zesa sub-stations in and around the proposed development.
“In designing this high-density residential suburb, a number of town planning issues were taken into consideration. These include safety, convenience, compatibility and uniformity. Other considerations were those of connectivity and environmental sustainability.
“There are existing 40-metre roads that serve as major roads on the site linking the proposed development to the adjoining suburb. The site is also accessible through the 20-metre road that runs north to south to the existing Cowdray Park Phase One,” reads the report. Norwood would have on site sewer treatment facilities.
Meanwhile, NBS head of marketing Mr Andrew Tawodzera said the bank has identified development partners across the country including Bulawayo to finance the delivery of the affordable low cash housing. In Bulawayo, he said the bank has agreed with the local authority to avail land where housing units will be developed although he could not readily identify the areas. The same facility has also been arranged with Umguza District Council.
Last month, NBS embarked on a number of nationwide roadshows where they sought the engagement of strategic partnerships with players in the housing development. Bank officials met with various land developers, contractors and building material suppliers in areas that included but not limited to Harare, Mutare, Masvingo, Bulawayo and Gweru.
“It is through these events that NBS identified development partnerships throughout the country and is still looking for additional partners for collaborative relationships towards the delivery of affordable low cost housing. Beyond the housing development projects NBS also extends mortgage finance to individuals who may already have stands or require assistance in finishing houses that are already under construction within any urban development area,” said Mr Tawodzera.
He said the bank’s primary target market was the low to middle income earners as well as individuals in the informal sector and small to medium enterprises.
“We believe that our mortgage product is the most competitive on the market. Our interest rates are between 9,5 percent and 11,5 percent per annum with the lower applying to first time home owners who want mortgages in the high-density developments while the later interest rates will apply to individuals applying for medium density housing establishments,” he said.
The bank will also open four branches and a number of agencies in various parts of the country as well as introducing a number of mobile cash transaction platforms as it moves to improve convenience and efficiency to its clients. – State Media