(MENAFN - Arab News) Jeddah residents say the relocation of factories and workshops from residential neighborhoods is proceeding slowly.
The residents demanded, following the recent closure of a large factory in Al-Khumrah district in the south of Jeddah for not abiding by environmental regulations, to accelerate the relocation of the rest of the factories out of residential areas.
The Jeddah Municipality told Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper that it is working in cooperation with Makkah province, Jeddah governorate, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), Saudi Electricity Company (SET), Civil Defense and the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) to relocate 572 factories outside city limits.
"The first step in this government project will include Al-Nuzha district in the north of Jeddah," said Ali Al-Ghamdi, deputy secretary of Jeddah Municipality.
The development plan has been assigned to the Jeddah Development and Urban Regeneration Company (JDURC). It will include a number of neighborhoods, particularly those in the city center. JDURC is to rehabilitate the neighborhoods in all urban, environmental, social and health aspects.
Al-Ghamdi pointed out that the municipality ordered new projects to abide by environmental regulations. They need to get environmental approval from the Presidency for Meteorology and Environment in order to obtain the final licenses from the municipality. No project would get any exemption in this regard, said Al-Ghamdi.
"Over 15,000 workshops, including more than 10,000 car repair and services workshops are located in residential neighborhoods," said Al-Ghamdi. The municipality would like to have these moved to Usfan, but there had been delays because the allocated land was not ready.
The process of relocating workshops and factories from neighborhoods will begin soon, said Al-Ghamdi. "The new site will provide sufficient space to workshop owners, support services and vehicle owners. The new location is in an area of more than five million square meters at 70 km north of Jeddah. Therefore the municipality told workshop owners some time ago to not renew their licenses, until moving to the new location.
Samir Mohammad Niazi Murad, an official at the Council of Saudi Chambers, said there was also a proposal to use a 200 million sq. meter plot of land south of the Jeddah-Makkah Expressway for the purpose.
He said the problem of providing industrial land to the city of Jeddah was semi-resolved. The land that had been supplied could provide for the needs in this area for a period of at least five years, said Murad.
He said he had begun receiving requests for laying out plan for a third industrial city in Jeddah. He stressed the need to lay down clear industrial and environmental standards that the factories should adhere to in industrial areas, as well as for any industrial project.