The Lagos State Government has issued a 30-day ultimatum to owners/developers who have converted their buildings to other uses that are not approved to regularise the properties or face sanctions.
According to a statement made available to journalists by the Director, Public Affairs of Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPA), the warning was given by the General Manager of the authority, Mr Kehinde Osinaike, on Tuesday, December 13, 2022.
Osinaike was very critical of the practice of increasing illegal conversion of building use, especially residential ones, for other uses without the government’s approval.
The LASPPA boss said that the illegal conversion of buildings to other purposes contradicts and violates the original Master Plan of the state for the achievement of a sustainable Lagos.
Osinaike revealed that sticking to the Development Plan, which dictates the spatial arrangement of the state and the approved permissible uses for different areas, was important to prevent the emergence of slums.
He called on owners/developers of illegally converted buildings and other types of illegal developments to begin regularising them by visiting LASPPPA district offices nearest to them for guidance.
He said, “Failure to revert to the original approved plan of LASPPPA by owners of converted buildings within the next thirty days will attract the full wrath of the law.’’
He insisted that strict adherence to the Operative Development Plans was “non-negotiable for a sustainable Lagos State”.
Osinaike explained that the housing stock available for Lagos residents was usually estimated by planning permit granted for residential purposes.
He said that when such buildings get illegally converted, the official records automatically become unreliable creating disequilibrium “in the projected proportion of land earmarked for different categories of uses for different locations”.
He said that LASPPPA had the mandate to reject any application seeking for conversion of property from the originally approved use that had been specifically designated for a particular location.
Osinaike noted that the authority is legally guided by the extant Law and Regulations to grant planning permits to qualifying applications in accordance with the provisions of the Operative Development Plans of the state.
He said that illegal conversion of buildings that have approval for other uses was liable to revocation.
On the assessment rates for processing Planning Permits, the LASPPA boss explained that the scheduled fees worked out for the process were non-negotiable.
He said that assessment for processing a planning permit is determined by the volume, use and location of the building, which cannot be compromised, adding that the increasing clamour by prospective applicants to negotiate the government fees should not be encouraged.
The Lagos State Government had been at the forefront of the fight against the illegal conversion of properties from residential to commercial without approval from the state government as this distorts the physical planning of the state.