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Nakuru to implement plan to guide land reforms

The County Government of Nakuru is implementing a 10-year Spatial Plan to manage its ongoing land-sector reforms that will help avert mushrooming of incompatible land uses.

Deputy Governor Mr David Kones said the County was experiencing rapid urbanization within all its 11 Sub-Counties adding that the Spatial Plan would regulate and guide urban growth and development.

The Deputy governor explained that the plan had been crafted to avert mushrooming of incompatible land uses and developments and address lack of space for critical public utilities like storm water and sewerage among others.

The plan,  Mr Kones added  will seek to balance demands for development with the need to protect the environment while achieving the county’s social and economic objectives.

The spatial plan, according to the deputy governor will be expected to also avert the many boundary disputes being experienced in urban centres and help  improve county revenue through property rating to ensure controlled urban development.

While speaking at Geographic Information System (GIS) celebrations Mr Kones stated that the devolved unit was working towards accommodating population growth in the county adding that they were offering ample space for new settlements and new investments in the manufacturing, mining, agricultural and livestock sectors as well as tourism and hospitality sector.

The deputy governor said the county had delicate natural assets and wildlife resources that were being threatened by forces of the land transformation adding that there was need to align strategies to maximize the utility of the land resource and protect eco-fragile resources to thrive in a sustainable manner.

Mr Kones observed that activities that are driven by the desire to create settlements, expansion of towns, clearing of land for crop farming and other economic activities have left major scars on the county’s landscape.

He however assured that Governor Susan Kihika’s administration was committed to establishing a Geographic Information System lab that utilizes technology in planning and surveying of space to help address the challenges of incompatible land uses.

He also revealed that the GIS lab will be utilized in the preparation of the County Spatial Plan Digitization of the land records to make them more secure and minimize manipulations by unscrupulous land officials.

Wananchi will have the privilege of securing services faster than it was before this development,” the Deputy governor assured.

Mr Kones said the county Spatial Plan policy will help the executive plan its land development by defining the positions of pasture, agricultural and housing development lands in addition to ensuring that people buying land for development purposes will be guided by policies in their quest to develop their properties.  

He expressed optimism that the spatial plan will address and cure historical land injustices and enable the county to repossess all the grabbed public land.

While noting that the spatial plan was a legal document, the deputy governor said that it is anchored in both the constitution and county government act and guides use of land in the county which entails mapping out the county and placing every land in its rightful position.

The county government is also participating in the Kenya Urban Support Program (KUSP) that is funded by the World Bank to support investments in urban development.

Mr Kones indicated that the document will address key developmental challenges that the country is grappling with while recognizing the abundant and diverse resource endowment.

The Spatial Plan recommends strategies to enhance economic niche and mitigate negative impacts and challenges including  regional imbalances, unguided urbanization, massive land fragmentation and diminishing agricultural land, encroachment into fragile ecosystems and un-tapped and under-utilized resources.

In 2013, the United Nations Habitat listed Nakuru as one of the fastest growing towns in East and Central Africa. Economic experts say this growth has been brought about by many factors, including Nakuru’s location – 157 kilometres from Nairobi, Eldoret and Nyeri  that gives the town an edge in business.

By Esther Mwangi

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