CHAPTER 23:01
TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

   SECTION

PART I
PRELIMINARY

   1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

PART II
OFFICE AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSIONER

   3.   Commissioner of Town and Country Planning

   4.   Delegation of powers of Minister to Commissioner

   5.   Performance of Commissioner’s functions, etc.

   6.   Indemnity of Public Officers

PART III
PLANNING AUTHORITIES

   7.   Establishment of Town and Country Planning Board

   8.   Proceedings of the Board

   9.   Appointment of Planning Committees

   10.   Planning Committee may be committee of a Local Authority or District Council

   11.   Power of Minister to direct enquiries and seek advice

PART IV
PLANS AND PLAN-MAKING

Division I—General

   12.   Duties and powers of responsible authority with regard to plans generally

   13.   Consideration of plans other than National Physical Development Plan

   14.   Approval of plans

   15.   Deposit of approved plans

   16.   Review amendment and modification of plans

   17.   Revocation of plans

   18.   Conflict between plans

   19.   Advisory local physical development plans

Division II—National Physical Development Plan

   20.   Purpose and content of National Physical Development Plan

   21.   Responsibility for preparation of National Physical Development Plan

   22.   Approval of National Physical Development Plan

   23.   Status of National Physical Development Plan

Division III—District Physical Development Plans

   24.   Purpose and content of District Physical Development Plans

   25.   Responsibility for preparation of District Physical Development Plans

   26.   Status of District Physical Development Plan

Division IV—Local Physical Development Plans

   27.   Types of Local Physical Development Plans

   28.   Content of Local Physical Development Plans

   29.   Declaration of planning area for Local Physical Development Plans

   30.   Responsibility for preparation of Local Physical Development Plans

   31.   Status of Local Physical Development Plans

PART V
DEVELOPMENT CONTROL AND ENFORCEMENT

Division I—Development Control

   32.   Application of this Part

   33.   Customary land

   34.   Permitted development

   35.   Types of development permission

   36.   Application for development permission

   37.   Power to obtain information concerning applications

   38.   Power of Minister concerning applications

   39.   Consultation in relation to applications

   40.   Consideration of applications

   41.   Time and completion of development

   42.   Revocation of grant of development permission

   43.   Development permission personal to applicant

Division II—Enforcement

   44.   Development not to take place without permission

   45.   Enforcement notice

   46.   Reconsideration of enforcement notice

   47.   Matters to be taken into account on enforcement notices

   48.   Action in pursuance of enforcement notice

   49.   Stop notice

   50.   Development permission subsequent upon unauthorized development

   51.   Cleaning up land and buildings

PART VI
SPECIAL AREAS

   52.   Declaration of special areas

   53.   Land development control area order

   54.   Improvement area order

   55.   Vacant land development order

   56.   Building preservation order

   57.   Accelerated development area order

   58.   Subdivision control area order

PART VII
DEVELOPMENT BY DEPARTMENTS OF GOVERNMENT

   59.   Application of this Part

   60.   Regard to be had to plans

   61.   Procedure on proposals for development by Departments of Government

PART VIII
ACQUISITION OF LAND AND COMPENSATION

   62.   No general right to compensation under this Act

   63.   Acquisition of land

   64.   Occasions when compensation payable for planning actions

   65.   Assessment of compensation

   66.   Claim for compensation

PART IX
APPEALS

   67.   Appeals to the Board

   68.   Powers of Town and Country Planning Board on appeals

PART X
MISCELLANEOUS

   69.   Powers of entry

   70.   Register of applications for development permission and enforcement notices

   71.   Publication of information by Commissioner

   72.   Offences

   73.   Act to bind Government

PART XI
REGULATIONS

   74.   Regulations

PART XII
REPEALS, SAVINGS AND AMENDMENTS

   75.   Repeals and savings

   76.   Amendments to certain written laws

       First Schedule

       Second Schedule

26 of 1988
G.N. 72/1991

An Act to make provision with respect to Town and Country Planning and to provide for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto

[1ST SEPTEMBER 1991]

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1.   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Town and Country Planning Act.

2.   Interpretation

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   “accelerated development area order” means an order made, and referred to as such, under Part VI;

   “advertisement” means any word, letter, model, sign, placard, board, notice, poster, device or representation, whether illuminated or not, in the nature of and employed wholly or in part for the purposes of advertisement, announcement or direction (excluding any such thing employed wholly as a memorial or as a railway signal), and without prejudice to the foregoing includes any hoarding or similar structure used or adapted for use for the display of advertisements;

   “authorized officer” means a person designated as such under section 5:

   “Board” means the Town and Country Planning Board established under section 7;

   “building” means any building, erection or structure erected on or made on, in or under any lands and includes the land on, in or under which the building, erection, structure is situated;

   “building operations” includes any road or other works, preliminary or incidental to the erection or buildings;

   “building preservation order” means an order made, and referred to as such, under Part VI;

   “Chairman” means the Chairman of the Board;

   “Commissioner” means the Commissioner for Town and Country Planning appointed under section 3;

   “declared area” means an area declared by order to be a Planning Area or a Land Development Control Area;

   “development” in relation to any land means any building, rebuilding, engineering or mining operations in, on, under or over land and any material change in the use of land or building;

   “development permission” is permission granted under Part V;

   “District Physical Development Plan” means the plan referred to in Division III of Part IV;

   “enforcement notice” means a notice served under section 45;

   “exempted development” means development exempted by section 33 from the operation of this Act;

   “grant of development permission” means the grant under section 36, of permission by the Minister or a responsible authority to develop land in accordance with the terms and conditions of the grant;

   “improvement area order” means an order made, and referred to as such, under Part VI;

   “land” includes land covered with water, buildings and other things permanently affixed to land and any interest in land;

   “land development control area order” means an order made, and referred to as such, under Part VI;

   “Local Authority” has the meaning ascribed to that expression in the Local Government (Urban Areas) Act;

   “Local Government Area” has the meaning ascribed to that expression in the Local Government (Urban Areas) Act;

   “Local Physical Development Plan” means the plan referred to in Division IV of Part IV;

   “National Physical Development Plan” means the plan referred to in Division II of Part IV;

   “notice of revocation” means a notice served under section 42 of this Act revoking, to the extent set out in the notice, a grant of development permission;

   “permitted development” means the development specified in the First Schedule;

   “plan” means a plan made under this Act;

   “Planning Area” means an area declared as such under Part IV;

   “Planning Committee” means a Planning Committee appointed or declared under Part III;

   “responsible authority” in relation to—

   (a)   a Planning Area, means the Planning Committee of that area; and

   (b)   any other area, means the Commissioner;

   “stop notice” means a notice served under section 49;

   “subdivision” means the division of any piece of land for the purpose of parting with possession or of disposing of any portion thereof, either by way of lease or sale or for the erection of a building upon any portion;

   “subdivision control area order” means an order made, and referred to as such, under Part VI;

   “subdivision agreement” includes any agreement whereby any person is given—

   (a)   any right whether vested or contingent to acquire, lease, or obtain possession of any portion of land, whether immediately or upon fulfilment of any condition or upon the happening of any event, or after the lapse of any time, or upon the exercise of any option or upon the payment of any sum, whether by instalments or otherwise; or

   (b)   a right to erect a building on any portion of land belonging to some other person;

   “vacant land development area order” means an order made, and referred to as such, under Part VI.

PART II
OFFICE AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSIONER

3.   Commissioner for Town and Country Planning

   There shall be a Commissioner for Town and Country Planning who shall be a public officer.

4.   Delegation of powers by the Minister to the Commissioner

   The Minister may, subject to special or general directions, delegate all or any of the powers or duties conferred by this Act to the Commissioner.

5.   Performance of Commissioner’s functions, etc.

   Anything required or permitted by or under this Act to be done by the Commissioner may be done by any public officer who is authorized, either specially or generally, in that behalf in writing by the Commissioner.

6.   Indemnity of public officers

   A public officer shall not incur any liability in respect of the exercise or performance, or purported exercise or performance, by him in good faith of any function under and for the purposes of this Act.

PART III
PLANNING AUTHORITIES

7.   Establishment of Town and Country Planning Board

   (1) There shall be established a Town and Country Planning Board which shall have the jurisdiction and powers conferred upon it by this Act.

   (2) In addition to any specific powers conferred upon the Board by this Act, the Minister may, if he thinks fit, require the Board to make a report or give advice to him on any matter which he shall refer to it.

   (3) The Board shall consist of a Chairman who shall be a person knowledgeable and experienced in town and country planning and such other members being not less than six nor more than eight as the Minister may, by notice published in the Gazette, appoint; and the Chairman and other members shall hold office—

   (a)   for a period of two years or such shorter period as the Minister may specify in the instrument of appointment; and

   (b)   upon such conditions as to remuneration and otherwise as the Minister may determine.

   (4) The Minister shall appoint one of the members to be Vice-Chairman of the Board.

   (5) In appointing the members of the Board, the Minister shall take into account the desirability of availing the Board of the services of persons having experience in, or knowledge of, the following matters—

   (a)   town and country planning;

   (b)   land management and valuation;

   (c)   economics;

   (d)   law;

   (e)   civil engineering;

   (f)   surveying;

   (g)   housing;

   (h)   architecture; and

   (i)   social welfare.

   (6) The Chairman and any other member of the Board shall not incur any liability in respect of the exercise or performance or purported exercise or performance by him in good faith of any of the functions of the Board under this Act.

8.   Proceedings of the Board

   (1) The Chairman or in his absence the Vice-Chairman shall preside at all meetings of the Board.

   (2) The quorum at any meeting of the Board shall be constituted by any five members.

   (3) The Board has power to regulate its own procedures.

   (4) The proceedings of the Board shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning ascribed to that expression in the Penal Code.

9.   Appointment of Planning Committees

   (1) Where a Planning Area has been declared by order under Part IV, the Minister shall appoint a Planning Committee which shall exercise any duties as are conferred upon it by this Act or any regulations and orders of the Minister under this Act.

   (2) A Planning Committee under subsection (1) may be appointed to exercise powers and duties in respect of more than one Planning Area.

   (3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5) the Minister shall appoint the chairman and other members of a Planning Committee.

   (4) Where a Planning Area lies wholly or in part within the boundaries of a Local Government Area, the Minister shall appoint the chairman and not less than two members of the Planning Committee from amongst the members of the Local Authority having jurisdiction within that Local Government Area.

   (5) Where a Planning Area—

   (a)   lies wholly within the boundaries of one district, the Minister shall appoint as members of the Planning Committee at least two persons from amongst members of the District Council having jurisdiction over that district;

   (b)   lies within the boundaries of more than one district, the Minister shall appoint as a member of the Planning Committee at least one person from amongst members of each District Council having jurisdiction over part of that Planning Area.

   (6) A Planning Committee may delegate to one or more subcommittees or to any officer authorized by it in writing any of its functions under this Act other than the functions of granting or revoking a grant of development permission.

10.   Planning Committee may be committee of a Local Authority or District Council

   (1) The Minister may, with the concurrence of the Minister for the time being responsible for Local Government, by order, published in the Gazette designate a Local Authority or a District Council as a Planning Committee.

   (2) A Planning Committee established under subsection (1) may, in addition to performing the functions of a Planning Committee under this Act, administer the rules relating to building operations applicable within the area of the Local Authority of the District Council, as the case may be.

   (3) The Minister may nominate not more than three persons to serve on the Planning Committee established under subsection (1) and such persons shall be deemed to be persons appointed to a committee in accordance with subsection (5) of section 56 of the Local Government (Urban Areas) Act or persons co-opted to a committee under subsection (3) of section 22 of the Local Government (District Councils) Act, as the case may be.

   (4) A Planning Committee established under subsection (1) shall be subject to all the provisions applicable to committees of a Local Authority in the Local Government (Urban Areas) Act or of a District Council in the Local Government (District Councils) Act, as the case may be.

   (5) Any member of a Planning Committee established under subsection (1), or of a subcommittee thereof, who has any financial or proprietory interest in any matter coming before the Planning Committee or the subcommittee in respect of the exercise of any functions under this Act shall disclose such interest to the Committee or subcommittee and, if it is any matter on which a vote is to be taken, he shall not vote on such matter.

11.   Powers of Minister to direct inquiries and seek advice

   The Minister may, as he sees fit, cause inquiries to be made or seek advice from any person or body of persons established by him for that purpose on any matter concerning town and country planning in Malawi or any part thereof.

PART IV
PLANS AND PLAN-MAKING

Division I—General

12.   Duties and powers of responsible authority with regard to plans generally

   (1) The responsible authority shall furnish the Minister with such particulars and information as the Minister may require concerning the preparation and content of any plan on the present and future planning needs and the probable direction and nature of development of any area in respect of which a plan may be prepared.

   (2) The responsible authority may seek such information and opinions and consult with such persons and organizations as may be necessary to ensure the proper and expeditious preparation of a plan and all such persons and organizations shall, to the extent that they are able, comply with such requests for information and opinions.

   (3) The responsible authority shall, during the preparation of a plan, other than a National Physical Development Plan, keep the District Council, the Local Authority and the District Commissioner having jurisdiction, in the area for which the plan is being prepared informed of the progress of the preparation and the likely content of the plan and seek and take into account the view of those authorities on the plan.

   (4) Where a plan is being prepared which will or is likely to involve the movement or relocation of people from their homes and places of work or the acquisition of land in the area or the redistribution of land or the readjustment of the boundaries and areas of plots of land, the responsible authority shall, before reaching a decision on the matter, cause the substance of those proposals in the plan to be made known throughout the area of the plan in such manner as is likely to be effective for the purpose of bringing them to the attention of all persons affected by them and shall consider and take into account any representations made concerning the proposals.

13.   Consideration of plans other than National Physical Development Plan

   (1) When a plan, other than a National Physical Development Plan, has been prepared a copy shall be placed on deposit at the offices of the District Commissioner and also at the offices—

   (a)   of District Council in the case of a plan prepared for an area within a District; or

   (b)   of the Local Authority in the case of a plan prepared for the whole or any part of the area of the Local Authority and at such other places as the responsible authority shall see fit.

   (2) Notice of such deposit and of the period in which any person may inspect and make representations on a plan shall be published in the Gazette and in at least one issue of a newspaper in general circulation in Malawi.

   (3) The responsible authority shall cause the substance of the plan to be made known throughout the area for which it has been prepared in such manner as it considers to be most effective for the purpose of bringing it to the attention of the people residing and working in that area.

   (4) The responsible authority may, and shall if so directed by the Minister or requested by a District Council or Local Authority, hold meetings with any organization or the requesting organizations and such other persons for the purpose of explaining the proposed plans and receiving representations and comments thereon.

   (5) Any person may within sixty days of the notice of the deposit of a plan inspect and make representations on that plan.

   (6) After the expiry of the period prescribed under subsection (5) for making representations on a plan, the responsible authority shall submit the plan to the Minister together with all such representations and comments and any recommendations made on them by the responsible authority for consideration by the Minister.

14.   Approval of plans

   (1) The Minister may approve a plan with or without modification or reject it in whole or in part.

   (2) Prior to making any decision on a plan which has been submitted to him, the Minister shall consider any representations and comments that have been made on that plan and may refer the plan and those representations and comments to the Board for its advice and may, as he sees fit, seek the advice of any other person on the plan as he may see fit.

15.   Deposit of approved plan

   (1) When a plan has been approved by the Minister in respect of the whole or part of the area for which it has been prepared a copy of it shall be deposited in such places within the area and the substance of it shall be made known throughout the area in such manner as the Minister shall direct.

   (2) Any approved plan shall be a public document and shall be available for inspection and use by members of the public at all reasonable times at the offices of the responsible authority and at such other places within the area to which the plan applies as the Minister shall direct.

16.   Review, amendment and modification of plans

   (1) The Minister may require the responsible authority to review, or prepare modifications and amendments to, any plan or any part thereof.

   (2) The responsible authority may review, modify and amend any plan that has been prepared, whether or not it has been approved by the Minister, as is in the opinion of the responsible authority necessary to take account of the changing circumstances of the area to which the plan relates.

   (3) The provisions of sections 12 and 13 shall apply to any review, amendment or modification of a plan.

   (4) The responsible authority shall submit to the Minister any modifications and amendments to a plan for his approval and if the Minister is of the opinion that new substantial policies and proposals are being introduced into the plan he may, prior to the granting of his approval therefor, direct inquiries to be made under section 11.

17.   Revocation of plans

   (1) The Minister may, by order published in the Gazette, revoke any plan or part of a plan but such revocation shall not render illegal any action that has been taken by a responsible authority or any other person under, or in pursuance of, a plan.

   (2) Any action in the process of being taken by a responsible authority or by any other person under or in pursuance of a plan that has been revoked shall unless the order of revocation otherwise provides, cease to be taken and if continued thereafter shall have no effect.

   (3) Upon revocation of a plan under subsection (1) the Minister shall cause the substance of the revocation order to be made known in the area to which the plan applies in such manner as the Minister shall direct.

18.   Conflict between plans

   (1) Where there is any conflict or discrepancy between the policies and proposals of an approved District Physical Development Plan and an approved Local Physical Development Plan applicable to the same area or between two or more approved Local Physical Development Plans applicable to the same area, the policies and proposals of the approved Local Physical Development Plan or, as the case may be, the most recently approved Local Physical Development Plan shall prevail.

   (2) Where there is a conflict between an approved plan and a plan that has been prepared but not yet approved, the policies and proposals of the approved plan shall prevail.

   (3) Where there is a conflict between two or more plans applicable to the same area none of which have been approved, a Local Physical Development Plan shall prevail over any other plan or plans.

19.   Advisory local development plans

   Nothing in this Part shall be so construed as to prevent the preparation and use by the Commissioner of advisory local physical development plans for urban areas, rural centres and villages for the physical development, redevelopment and use of any land.

Division II—National Physical Development Plan

20.   Purpose and content of National Physical Development Plan

   (1) The purpose of a National Physical Development Plan shall be—

   (a)   to provide a spatial framework for the co-ordination and implementation of programmes and projects of development;

   (b)   to assist with the development of an ordered hierarchy of urban and rural growth centres so as to contribute to a balanced pattern of development and an economical use of resources and facilities; and

   (c)   to provide guidelines for the development of services and facilities to desirable standards.

   (2) A National Physical Development Plan shall consist of such statements of policies and principles and such background studies, reports, maps, plans and other materials containing such information and analysis of demographic, economic, energy, environmental, land use and tenure, physical, rural, social welfare, transportation, urban and other like matters as are necessary to enable the plan to achieve its purpose.

21.   Responsibility for the preparation of National Physical Development Plan

   (1) The Commissioner shall be responsible for the preparation of a National Physical Development Plan.

   (2) The Minister may require such information and such policies and proposals as he may see fit to be included in a National Physical Development Plan at the stage of its preparation.

22.   Approval of National Physical Development Plan

   (1) When a National Physical Development Plan (in this section referred to as the "Plan") has been prepared it shall be submitted to the Minister for approval.

   (2) The Minister may place the Plan or an official summary thereof before Parliament for its consideration, and where he does so, he shall not make any decision on the Plan until after Parliament has considered it.

   (3) The Minister may seek such advice on, and give such publicity to, the Plan as he sees fit.

   (4) The Minister may approve the Plan with or without amendments or reject it in whole or in part.

23.   Status of National Physical Development Plan

   Where the Minister approves a National Physical Development Plan or where a National Physical Development Plan has been prepared but has not yet been approved by the Minister, all District Physical Development Plans and all Local Physical Development Plans and any programme or project of development shall, as far as is practicable, be so formulated and prepared as to have regard, to and take into account, the policies and principles of the National Physical Development Plan so approved or prepared.

Division III—District Physical Development Plans

24.   Purpose and content of District Physical Development Plans

   (1) The purpose of a District Physical Development Plan shall be—

   (a)   to elaborate on, and to apply, the principles and policies of the National Physical Development Plan, if any is in existence in so far as they are relevant to the district;

   (b)   to provide a survey of the conditions, resources and facilities within the district to which it relates;

   (c)   to identify the growth and service centres, the priorities and possible locations of major public investments and the communication and transportation facilities within the district; and

   (d)   to formulate a general land use plan for the district.

   (2) A District Physical Development Plan may be made for—

   (a)   the whole or part of a district;

   (b)   more than one district; or

   (c)   parts of more than one district:

   Provided that a District Physical Development Plan made for part of a district or parts of more than one district or more than one district shall be given a special name as appropriate other than that of the district or districts to which the plan relates.

   (3) A District Physical Development Plan shall include—

   (a)   a technical report on the conditions, resources and facilities of the district;

   (b)   a statement of policies and proposals directed to assisting the making of decisions on the allocation of resources and the location of physical development within the district;

   (c)   such information about the description and analysis of the conditions of development in the district as may be necessary to explain and justify the statement of policies and proposals;

   (d)   background studies and reports;

   (e)   maps and plans showing present and future land uses and development; and

   (f)   such other matters as the District Planning Committee may request.

25.   Responsibility for preparation of District Physical Development Plan

   (1) The Commissioner shall be responsible for the preparation of a District Physical Development Plan.

   (2) The Commissioner may, with the consent of the Minister, delegate the responsibility for preparing a District Physical Development Plan to a Planning Committee.

26.   Status of District Physical Development Plan

   (1) When a District Physical Development Plan has been approved by the Minister in respect of the whole or part of a district all Local Physical Development Plans and all programmes and projects of development proposed for the district or that part for which a District Physical Development Plan has been approved and all Local Physical Development Plans for areas bordering on or adjacent to the district shall, as far as is practicable, be so formulated and prepared as to have regard to, and take into account, the District Physical Development Plan.

   (2) When a District Physical Development Plan has been prepared but not yet approved all Local Physical Development Plans and all programmes and projects for development within the district shall, as far as is practicable, be so formulated and prepared as to have regard to, and take into account, the District Physical Development Plan.

Division IV—Local Physical Development Plans

27.   Types of Local Physical Development Plans

   (1) Local Physical Development Plans shall include the following, namely—

   (a)   an urban structure plan, which shall be a land use plan or outline zoning scheme or outline zoning plan for the whole of an urban area;

   (b)   an urban layout plan, which shall be a detailed land use plan of a part of an urban area in which significant physical development is planned or is likely to or has begun to take place or there is need for development, redevelopment or revision and upgrading;

   (c)   an urban civic plan, which shall be a more elaborate design of a special area or areas of an urban area showing layout of buildings, carparking lots and landscaping among other details; and

   (d)   a subject physical development plan, which shall be a plan concerned with a particular subject matter.

   (2) A Local Physical Development Plan other than a subject physical development plan shall be named after the place or area to which it relates and the kind of plan it is.

   (3) A subject physical development plan shall be named after the subject particular matter with which it is concerned.

   (4) More than one Local Physical Development Plan may be applied to any one area or place at the same time and one Local Physical Development Plan may apply to more than one area at the same time.

28.   Content of Local Physical Development Plans

   (1) A Local Physical Development Plan shall include—

   (a)   a summary of the principal features of the plan;

   (b)   a statement on the existing conditions of the place or area or subject matter with which the plan is concerned;

   (c)   a statement on planning policies and proposals;

   (d)   a statement on the relationship between the plan and the District Physical Development Plan to which it would relate and any other Local Physical Development Plans adjacent to it;

   (e)   maps and plans to show present and future land and transportation uses and the location of proposed developments; and

   (f)   guidance on land uses for purposes of making decisions on applications for development permission.

   (2) The Minister may require any other matter to be included in any Local Physical Development plan.

29.   Declaration of Planning Area for Local Physical Development Plan

   (1) Where the Minister, after such consultations as he thinks it appropriate to make, considers that there is need for development which is taking place or is likely to take place in any area to be properly planned, organized and guided or that there is need for development to be encouraged in any area and that such planning or development can be better achieved by the preparation of a Local Physical Development Plan, he may by order published in the Gazette, declare that area to be a Planning Area.

   (2) Where a Planning Area is declared in respect of land which is or part of which is customary land, the Minister may request the Minister responsible for land matters to declare that customary land to be public land under section 27 of the Land Act.

   (3) A District Council or a Local Authority may request the Minister to declare under subsection (1) any part of its area of jurisdiction to be a Planning Area.

   (4) An order made under subsection (1) shall not be made so as to have retrospective effect.

   (5) A copy of the order shall be deposited or displayed in such places within the Planning Area as the Minister may direct, and the Minister shall cause the substance of the order to be made known throughout the Planning Area in such manner as the Minister considers to be most effective for the purpose of bringing it to the attention of all persons likely to be affected by it.

30.   Responsibility for preparation of Local Physical Development Plan

   (1) The Commissioner shall be responsible for the preparation of Local Physical Development Plans.

   (2) The Commissioner may delegate the responsibility for the preparation of the plans referred to in subsection (1) to a Planning Committee.

   (3) Where the Commissioner delegates to a Planning Committee the responsibility for the preparation of a Local Physical Development Plan, the Planning Committee shall consult with the Commissioner on the need, and the resources likely to be available, for the preparation of such a plan.

31.   Status of Local Physical Development Plan

   (1) When a Local Physical Development Plan had been approved by the Minister—

   (a)   all Government Departments and all statutory bodies shall have due regard to the plan in formulating and preparing any project of public investment and development within the area to which the plan applies;

   (b)   the District Council, and the Local Authority having jurisdiction in the area to which the plan applies shall, so far as is practicable, comply with the plan in deciding or commenting on the location, priority and nature of any project of public investment or development; and

   (c)   the Planning Committee shall, in considering any application for development permission, have due regard to and, so far as is practicable, comply with the plan.

   (2) When a Local Physical Development Plan is in course of preparation or has been prepared but not yet approved all Government Departments and statutory bodies, the District Council, the Local Authority and the Planning Committee having jurisdiction in the area for which the plan is being or has been prepared shall, so far as is practicable in respect of their proposals for public investment and development or their decisions on applications for development permission, have regard to such policies and proposals as have been or are likely to be included in the plan.

PART V
DEVELOPMENT CONTROL AND ENFORCEMENT

Division I—Development Control

32.   Application of this Part

   (1) This Part shall apply to—

   (a)   all proposals for development within a Planning Area other than development permitted or exempted under this Act;

   (b)   all proposals for development within a declared area other than development permitted by this Act;

   (c)   all proposals for the display of advertisements other than those permitted by this Act; and

   (d)   all proposals for subdivisions within a subdivision control area.

   (2) The control of development, advertisements and subdivision activity on, or the proposed use of, land is to take place on private land, public land or customary land and no person or organization other than those provided for in this Act shall have any power or authority to grant permission for development or subdivision of land within a declared area or in respect of advertisements anywhere in Malawi.

33.   Customary land

   (1) Nothing in this Part shall affect the right of a Chief under section 26 of the Land Act to authorize the use and occupation of any customary land within his area in accordance with customary law but where that area falls within a declared area such authorization shall not operate as a development permission and it shall be the duty of the occupant of the customary land to apply for development permission unless the proposed development is an exempted development under this Act.

   (2) An exempted development under this section is—

   (a)   the erection of a building of a traditional nature within the recognized boundaries of a village;

   (b)   the erection of a traditional house outside the generally recognized boundaries of a village:

      Provided that this shall not authorize or render the lawful erection of such a house within a road reservation or on land where all development is prohibited in a declared area.

   (c)   the erection of a house made with non-permanent materials but in such case the provisions of the Public Health (Minimum Building Standards for Traditional Housing Areas) Rules or any rules replacing those rules shall apply to such a house;

   (d)   the erection of houses and other buildings in accordance with a simple layout plan prepared by or approved by the Planning Committee for use by a Chief in his authorization of the use and occupation of customary land in his area;

   (e)   the use of customary land in accordance with an urban layout plan approved by the Planning Committee for use by a Chief in his authorization for small-scale commercial and manufacturing purposes in buildings made with non-permanent materials.

   (3) Where a simple layout plan has been prepared or approved by the responsible authority it shall be explained to and discussed with the Chief to whose area the plan relates.

   (4) Where a simple layout plan under subsection 2 (d) has been supplied to a Chief, the Chief shall, in any case where he intends to authorize the use and occupation of customary land for the erection of any building within a declared area, comply with the provisions of that plan.

   (5) Where a Chief fails to comply with a layout plan in his authorization of use and occupation of customary land for the erection of any building within a declared area, the Minister may, after consultation with a Planning Committee where the customary land is in a Planning Area, request the Minister for the time being responsible for land matters, to declare that customary land to be public land under section 27 of the Land Act.

   (6) The Minister shall cause the substance of this section to be made known throughout those parts of any declared area where the land is customary land in such manner as he considers to be most effective for the purpose of bringing it to the attention of any Chief or other person having authority over customary land.

34.   Permitted development

   (1) The types and classes of development set out in the First Schedule shall, to the extent provided in that Schedule, be permitted development under this Act and shall be exempted from the requirement for development permission under this Part.

   (2) The Minister may by order amend the First Schedule.

35.   Types of development permission

   The types of development permission that may be applied for under this Part are as follows, namely—

   (a)   an outline development permission and development permission for development within a declared area; and

   (b)   an advertisement permission for the display of advertisements anywhere in Malawi; and

   (c)   a subdivision permission for the subdivision of land within a subdivision control area.

36.   Application for development permission

   (1) An application for development permission under this Part shall—

   (a)   be made to—

      (i)   the Planning Committee, in case of any development within a Planning Area;

      (ii)   the Commissioner, in every other case;

   (b)   be accompanied with a prescribed fee; and

   (c)   be in the prescribed form,

and shall include such other information as the Planning Committee or the Commissioner may require.

   (2) The responsible authority may by written notice served on an applicant for the grant of a development permission require the applicant to do either or both of the following, namely—

   (a)   publish details of his application at a time or times in a place or places and in a manner specified in the notice;

   (b)   give details of his application to the persons and authorities and in a manner specified in the notice.

   (3) A responsible authority shall in writing notify the applicant for a development permission of its decision on the application, giving, where it grants the permission, the conditions, if any, upon which it is granted and, where it refuses the permission, a brief statement of reasons for the refusal.

   (4) The responsible authority shall within sixty days of the receipt of an application for development permission inform the applicant of the decision on the application, or where no decision has been taken, of the progress on the application and the likely date by which a decision will be taken.

37.   Power to obtain information concerning applications

   (1) The responsible authority may by written notice served on the applicant for the grant of a development permission require the applicant—

   (a)   to furnish it, within such time as is specified in the notice, with such further information relevant to the application as may be specified in the notice;

   (b)   to permit it to enter on the land to which the application for the grant of development permission relates so as to enable it to view the site and the adjacent lands and developments.

   (2) Where the applicant for the grant of development permission does not have such an interest in the land to which the application relates as would enable him to permit the responsible authority to enter the land, he shall obtain that permission from the person having such interest.

   (3) The responsible authority may defer a decision on an application for the grant of development permission until it is satisfied on the matters in respect of which it requires information or entry onto the land to which the application relates.

38.   Power of Minister concerning applications

   (1) The Minister may from time to time, by order published in the Gazette, or in any individual case, by directions or instructions in writing under his hand, withdraw an application or class of applications for development permission from the jurisdiction of the responsible authority and reserve the power to make a decision on that application or class of application to himself.

   (2) The power of the Minister under subsection (1) may be exercised in respect of any application that has been made to the responsible authority and in such case the responsible authority shall cease to take any action in respect of the application and shall send it together with any information concerning it to the Minister.

   (3) An application to which subsection (1) relates shall be made to the Minister and the Minister shall, in addition to any other powers conferred on him by this Act, have all the powers of a responsible authority under this Part in connexion with such application.

   (4) The Minister may refer any application to which subsection (1) relates to the Board for its advice or decision.

39.   Consultation in relation to application

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