DOHA: A proposal approved by the Advisory Council yesterday urges the government to allow taller buildings in old areas.
In these localities, many of them in Doha, structures of more than two to three storeys are not permitted.
The Advisory Council’s proposal asks multi-storied buildings to be allowed in those areas to cater to the rising demand for housing and commercial use due to the exploding population.
The Council, after approving the proposal that was tabled by a member, Nasser Rashid Al Kabi, referred it to its Services and Public Utilities Committee for further study.
The Council has asked the committee to get in touch with the government agencies concerned and discuss the proposal and get back to it with details.
The government has been urged to create an environment conducive to making it possible to raise the height of existing buildings in old areas.
The idea is to create enough housing stock and enable an extended Qatari family to accommodate itself (vertically) in a building instead of having to buy separate plots of land and build houses for their breakaway members.
“A member of an extended family can continue to live in the same building after marriage, albeit separately.
“This will reduce pressure on land and slash construction costs,” said the proposal.
A debate was held on the proposal and although it was lauded by many a member of the Advisory Council and passed, those opposing it said the government’s approval would have a negative impact on real estate prices in the country.
“Real estate prices are stable at the moment but if the proposal is accepted by the state, the status quo would be disturbed,” said a member.
He said there would be imbalances as some areas would be allowed to have up to 10-storey buildings while the others might be permitted to have structures with only a few floors.
Since commercial areas have been spreading all over at the expense of residential localities, citizens must be allotted plots of land elsewhere to build houses, argued the member.
In remarks to this newspaper, however, real estate expert, Ahmed Al Oruqui, said that although the proposal was good it was not feasible to implement it in old areas.
The old infrastructure and building designs in those areas, coupled with the issues of safety and security involved with each structure, would not permit raising the height of buildings, he said.
According to Al Oruqui, this can be easily done in new areas and it would benefit extended Qatari families as it would save them money and they could live together in a building.
It would have a positive impact on land and rent prices and reduce construction costs, he said.
Meanwhile, in an interview to Al Sharq last month, a Central Municipal Council (CMC) member from New Salata area of Doha, Abdullah Al Sulaiti, had said since Qataris had moved from the area and had rented their houses, owners should be allowed to raise the height of buildings so they could make more rental income.
He said the CMC had made such a proposal in respect of several areas and the civic ministry had replied that it was conducting studies.
Observers say that some areas having been allowed to have multi-storied buildings while the others denied that privilege is leading to a disparity in Qataris’ income levels.