MUTARE City Council says it has not approved the proposed development of cluster houses in one of the town’s low density suburbs.

The housing project, which is expected to have 23 houses on stand number 7568 Mutare Township measuring 5,4 hectares, was sold to Abdul Wahid in November 1998 to initially establish an old people’s home.

The project was cleared on condition that the beneficiary conducted an environment impact assessment (EIA) before commencement of construction activities.

It has, however, emerged that the proposed housing project would be on a wetland and failed the EIA test.

In a Press statement this week, acting town clerk Blessing Chafesuka said the project was on hold until the Local Government and Public Works ministry endorsed the change of reservation.

“Stand 7568 Mutare township was sold by council on November 27, 1998 for the establishment of an old people’s retirement home on condition that the beneficiary shall conduct an environmental impact assessment before the commencement of any construction activities,” Chafesuka said.

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“Upon submission of a proposal to construct cluster houses in 2022 by the beneficiary, council resolved to apply to the minister of Local Government and Public works for approval of a change of reservation, which application is still under the minister’s consideration.”

He said the Local Government and Public Works minister, through the Department of Social Planning and Development, had advised Mutare city to provide confirmation of proof from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) that the land could be developed sustainability.

Chafesuka said council advised the land owner to conduct an EIA in consultation with all stakeholders, advising the latter to raise their concerns through the formal processes.

“Please note that council has not yet approved any development for cluster houses on the land in question until the change of reservation is approved,” he said.

Meanwhile, United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust programmes director Edson Dube called for proper engagement over the matter.

“The news of wetland invasion has been widely disturbing to any progressive Mutare residents who care about the environment. We really need these ecosystems,” Dube said.

“We need to put our hands on deck by engaging the investor, council, EMA and the parent ministry. We save the little what we have and meet the investor somewhere.”