The Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone (LBZ), spread over 3,000 acres and inhabited by the rich and powerful, will shrink if recommendations given by the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) to revise LBZ guidelines are accepted by the urban development (UD) ministry.
Government sources said the DUAC, which submitted its report to the UD ministry last week, has recommended that while core areas that were part of the original LBZ — mostly in and around Rajpath — should not be tinkered with in any way, building norms should be relaxed in others areas falling in the zone, such as Golf Links, Bengali Market and parts of Jor Bagh.
The commission recommends delineating these areas from the LBZ boundary and allowing construction of additional floor and basements. Currently, stringent building norms do not allow construction of basement in the entire area that has bungalows as well as plotted developments.
“The LBZ boundary has been haphazardly drawn, resulting in several anomalies. For instance, in Jor Bagh, residents who live in houses on the front row facing the road can’t construct basement or additional floor as they come under LBZ. But the rule does not apply to those living in the inside lanes as the areas don’t come under LBZ. This arbitrariness has to be addressed,” said an official.
Government sources said the ministry is going through the report and will soon take a final call on what recommendations to accept.
Rationalizing LBZ guidelines have been under discussion for the past several years but apprehending controversy the ministry has failed to take a call till now.
A similar report submitted by DUAC way back in 2007 was rejected by the ministry.
“In a city that is starved for space, such low density development is a luxury we can’t afford. This disparity has to be addressed. Revising the guidelines in a planned way will allow this by increasing the density and accommodating more people,” said a senior DDA official.
Compared to some parts of east and Old Delhi, where approximately 1,100 to 1,600 people live per acre, the low density development in LBZ allows just 14-15 people to live in an acre.
The recommendations if accepted would spur real estate development in this prime central Delhi address.
Shveta Jain, executive director, Residential Services, India, Cushman & Wakefield said: “Such a move will create more traction and ease of sale in these markets.
Right now tractions are very few as buyers find it difficult to justify land value. Though these areas offer the luxury of an address, they do not offer the luxury of space. Lifting of restrictions will lead to more efficiency in terms of space and improve chances of sale. Currently, it takes six to ten months to sell properties in the area.”
(With inputs from Vandana Ramnani)