- Special Pages
The proposed complexes that are being planned for each residential area in the country are to be called ‘service centres’, according to the Central Municipal Council (CMC).
Construction of these ‘service centers’ will likely start in Umm Salal and Al Khairatiyat, said the chairman of CMC, Saud Al Hanzab. Asked if neighbourhood stores were being removed from residential areas due to the mushrooming malls and hypermarkets, Al Hanzab replied in the negative.
“There is absolutely no linkage between the two. The neighbourhood stores and the malls and hypermarkets springing up are not rivals. Each has its own role to play,” Al Hanzab told The Peninsula yesterday.
The neighbourhood stores provide services such as home delivery which the bigger shopping complexes don’t.
Each residential locality in the country will have a ‘service centre’, and priority will be given to local neighbourhood stores in allotment of shops because these stores were given licences as Emiri largesse for economically weaker sections of society a long time ago.
That is why most neighbourhood stores are located randomly, and in residential buildings, he said. “There is, therefore, the need to organise and streamline them.”
It is planned that each ‘service centre’, to be built by the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, will have shops providing basic goods and services, such as laundries, barber salons, tailoring shops, grocery stores and eateries.
The idea, according to Al Hanzab, is to make sure that residents of a locality have access to basic services in their neighbourhood and don’t have to travel long distances to meet such needs.
“The service centre plans are currently with the private engineering office of the civic ministry,” said the CMC chief.
Asked why most malls and hypermarkets were located along Al Shamal Road and hardly any such shopping facility existed in places like Al Wakra in the south, the CMC chairman said it was the investors’ decision and the government had no role to play in deciding the location of these complexes.
“The owners built malls and hypermarkets in places they thought were densely populated, and that made business sense to them.”
But now the government seems to have changed its strategy, and while issuing licences for new malls and hypermarkets, it might make sure that they are evenly distributed geographically, said Al Hanzab. The Peninsula