Bahrain council votes to lift building ban
Manama, March 14, 2011
A construction ban in old Muharraq neighbourhoods could soon be partially lifted in view of necessary expansion for a growing population in certain areas.
The Muharraq Municipal Council has voted to lift the ban and the decision will now be reviewed by the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry.
The move follows demands by a number of businessmen and residents for the ban to be revised.
Once the decision is approved, councillors will list blocks where they want the ban to be lifted.
Council chairman Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed said that the ban was imposed to protect the identity of old neighbourhoods, but some have seen growing urbanisation over the years before the council's decision.
'It is illogical to halt a permit for someone trying to construct while the old neighbourhood has 20 multi-storey buildings and one traditional home,' he said.
'When the council imposed the ban it was trying to protect the identity of genuinely traditional neighbourhoods and not all neighbourhoods in Muharraq.
Council financial, administrative and legislative committee chairman Mohammed Al Mutawa said that the municipality shouldn't be blamed for rejecting applications because councillors had never made clear the extent of the ban.
'It is our fault that the computer system doesn't accept genuine applications because the council imposed a blanket ban, which I believe was a random decision,' he said.
'It has to be stopped and replaced with another system that protects old neighbourhoods and allows development at the same time.
'The problem is that there are old neighbourhoods with new extensions like in my constituency Busaiteen, where people are not given permits because the ministry thinks that we want a ban on the whole area.
'When the council took the decision years ago it wanted to protect old neighbourhoods, but its decision was misinterpreted because they never made it clear what it should cover.
'It is time we make things right by excluding areas from the ban so that developments goes ahead.'-TradeArabia News Service