Assessing the effectiveness of physical development planning and control mechanisms in Ghana: the experience of Wa Municipality.

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June, 2015
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In an attempt to achieve sustainable spatial planning, countries have adopted various regulations including building regulations, transfer of development rights and zoning to manage physical growth. However, enforcement of these controls appear to be largely ineffective especially in developing countries. This study analyses the processes involved in local plan formulation, the levels of adherence to physical controls and assesses the capacity of key planning and land institutions responsible for managing physical growth in the Wa Municipality. The study used the mixed methods of research design which used both qualitative and quantitative data and analysis. Questionnaires were used to solicit for data from 200 home builders while face to face interviews were conducted with key institutions using interview guide to gather data on land tenure system, institutional capacity and official physical development processes. Observation was also used to establish how physical development conforms to local plans by updating existing maps and consideration of setbacks between buildings as basis to determine adherence to building regulations. The home builders were mostly frustrated with the different stages involved in obtaining legal land documentations and acquiring building permit in the physical development process. Secondly, there was a flaw in the planning process involved in preparing local plans due to the fact that, all the public stakeholder consultations stages in preparing a local plan officially were ignored in the process used in Wa. The study also found non adherence to development controls because in the local plans of both neighbourhoods studied, there was a place for everything but in trying to correlate physical development to what was proposed, everything was not in its place. This is because all areas demarcated for open spaces were used for residential purposes. As a result it was established that development controls used were not effective because the objective of enforcing these mechanisms which is to ensure orderly and harmonious spatial development was not achieved. It is therefore recommended that monthly education should be organised on the various radio stations to intensify public education on the measures already adopted to reduce the lengthy and cumbersome process in permit applications. Furthermore, planners are expected to practise integrated planning of land uses to allow for home-based enterprises with caution. Additionally, the services of national service personnel could be used to address the issue of inadequate staff for site inspection and monitoring.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Planning.