Planning Authorities have experienced a surge in planning applications from the public requesting change of use of land from residential and agricultural to commercial. The planning applications are motivated by a desire by the public to utilize their land in the most economically optimal way.
Change of land use is governed by land policies, guidelines and instruments that are used for considering planning permission and have over the years proven to be restrictive and do not effectively facilitate the public to gain optimal economic value from their land.
In response to growing public concerns that land policies, guidelines and instruments were unnecessarily restrictive, the Ministry of Land Management, Water & Sanitation Services embarked on a process of reviewing the various policy guidelines and instruments in order to facilitate the land usage needs of the public.
The aim of the review process was to come up with recommendations that would allow Planning Authorities to be flexible enough for the public to derive maximum economic benefit from their land while at the same time adhering to good town and country planning practice.
To this end, Cabinet has, approved various measures recommended by the Ministry to allow flexibility and ease of land use. The recommendations included:
1. Proposed amendments to the Botswana Land Policy, 2015 which would differentiate the permissible amounts of ancillary usages for both ploughing fields and Natural Agricultural Production Zones. The proposed amendment will be presented to Parliament for adoption.
2. The Development Control Code and other related instruments have been amended to allow changes of use on agricultural land of up to 50% of the total area of the land parcel.
3. The Integrated Agricultural Farming Guidelines have been amended to allow ancillary use provision of up to 50% of the total area of the land parcel.
4. The Tourist Related Accommodation Guidelines have been amended by removing the requirement for a road hierarchy.
The Ministry of Land Management, Water & Sanitation Services has since this approval amended the Development Control Code and in conjunction with other Ministries, is in the process of revising the Land Policy 2015, Integrated Agricultural Farming Guidelines and Tourist Related Accommodation Guidelines other relevant guidelines.