Monday, October 21, 2013

4 Things You Should Know about The Ghana Town & Country Planning

Features: Six independent agencies, three ministries*: * Five under the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines; Ministry of Environment supervises Town and Country Planning at National/Policy level, Ministry of Local Government at Local/Implementation level. Image source:

What Do You Know About The Ghana Town & Country Planning?

Well planned communities not only beautifies an area but instills discipline and orderliness amongst the community members. It is amazing the extent to which countries go to plan and design their communities and cities in order to strengthen and boost their national architecture and encourage tourism.

 In Ghana, the body generally responsible for planning our communities is the Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD). It was set up in 1945 to plan and manage growth and the development of cities, towns and villages in Ghana now under the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology.

The department has to ensure order and progress in the development of lands and towns in both the rural and urban areas not forgetting to preserve and improve amenities in these areas. TCPD was formed with the objective of promoting developments of human settlements which are sustainable, guided by the principles of efficiency, orderliness, safety and healthy growth of communities.

Their responsibilities include:

  1. Prepare land use plan to guide development. The provision of these layout plans (planning schemes) fosters orderliness in the development of human settlements. Any conflicts that may arise as to the use of the land or its ownership or its developmental capabilities can be easily detected and solved from the planning schemes. These layout plans are also necessary for the Lands Commission to cross-check before issuing out a land title certificate during a land title registration.
  2. When new stool lands are acquired, the TCPD in collaboration with the survey department map out the layout and plan the various uses of the land such as civic, residential, educational, religious and commercial. The plans and proposals on how the land or community is to be developed are essential to direct an organized growth and development of urban and rural communities.
  3. Promote development through public education, research and special projects as well as formulating goals and standards for the use and development of every land in the country especially in fast growing urban areas.
  4. Manage, coordinate, monitor and regulate the development of the physical environment by creating an enabling environment and systems to ensure everyone complies with the approved planning schemes. A way of safeguarding this is offering planning services to public authorities like District Councils and private developers; carrying out periodic site inspections and vetting development applications.
For residential and developmental projects, vetting is conducted by the Ghana Town & Country Planning to examine the proposed developmental plan and give approval by issuing out a building permit.

First, a land search is conducted at the Lands Commission to be certain the land belongs to the said person. Afterwards, they evaluate if the proposed development ties in with the overall layout plan and land use plan of the area. The TCPD works hand in hand with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and The Ghana National Fire Service to approve and issue building permit for a development and building especially commercial facilities.

To get a building permit, you have to fill in a Building Permit Application Form and Town & Country Planning Development Application Form 1 giving details of your proposed development. Copies of your building plans or House Plans, and sometimes Structural Analysis Report and Geotechnical Report are added. All these are submitted to the TCPD and a processing fee is paid.

Subsequently, the site is physically inspected by officials of the TCPD and the application analyzed. When the application is approved you are notified to pay the building permit fees after which the permit is processed and the building permit certificate is issued.

The time frame is usually around two to three month period but sometimes can extend further. Getting a permit can take quite some time to go through all the regulatory processes and Ghana Homes has competent lawyers to help you out.

The building permit certificate attests the proposed project conforms to the building regulations and development control guidelines of the country and specific area thus no one can ever demolish or contend your building or development. The permit also protects your investment and makes your building legal in Ghana.

Without a building permit, you may obtain a fine or have your project halted or in some cases completely demolished. If you wouldn’t want to experience such a financial and emotional loss then contact the TCPD for all your physical developmental needs or better still contact Ghana Homes to guide you through the process.

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