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State to put up 10,000 houses on repossessed land

By Macharia Kamau | August 18th 2020
Across section of Nairobi’s Mukuru slums. The housing project offers hope for slum dwellers. [File, Standard]

The government plans to build 10,000 housing units on a 56-acre parcel of land in Nairobi’s Industrial Area for residents of the Mukuru slum.

The land was recently repossessed from grabbers.

The State Department of Housing and Urban Development said it would build social housing units that will benefit the dwellers of informal settlements in Mukuru.

The land previously belonged to the Kenya Meteorological Department but was transferred to five private firms in 2005. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission recently won a bid by the government to repossess the land when the Environmental and Land Court revoked the title deeds issued to the five firms, citing illegalities in issuance.

The Ministry of Lands is now in the process of re-issuing the deeds to the Treasury, which will hold the land in trust for the State Department of Housing.

Kenya recently received a Sh16.2 billion facility from the World Bank to improve living standards for 1.7 million residents living in selected urban informal settlements.

“The development of the housing units will be on the land that initially belonged to the Kenya Meteorological Department and is being transferred for this use and to be under the National Treasury as its trustee,” said the State Department in an impact assessment report.

“There will also be change of user for this specific piece of land from a zoning perspective, from industrial to residential.”

The Housing department is seeking stakeholder views on the planned development.

“A total of 10,000 affordable units are planned in the long-term. The number of units projected for construction is between 3,000 and 5,000 per year.”

Zoning regulations

The housing project will entail 375 blocks, each with five levels. Each block has 40 units, translating to eight units per floor on five floors.

“The site falls within an industrial area as per zoning regulations, but change of use is being sought to allow the land be used for residential purposes,” said the report.

Residents of informal settlements neighbouring the development are also expected to benefit.

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