The development of spatial and urban plans that determine the purposes and stipulate the rules of construction is a great bottleneck for investment in Serbia. It takes at least half a year to adopt a plan that has detailed regulations, in compliance with all procedures, and at least 12 months for a general regulation plan. However, in practice, adoption procedures often take years due to insufficiently efficient communication and coordination of the competent authorities. NALED sees the solution in the establishment of the digital platform eSpace.
- eSpace would enable institutions to electronically exchange information, give comments, issue conditions and consents and work on the platform simultaneously to make plans, instead of now waiting for each other to do their part of the job. It would also be an advanced system that could be integrated with the system for issuing various permits for construction purposes, and would also be an easily searchable database of all planning documents in Serbia. Thanks to eSpace, we would speed up the process of making plans, achieve great savings and increase the transparency of the adoption of planning documents - says Dragana Cukic, vice president of NALEDs MB and member of the MB of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Serbia (ACES).
One of the key features of eSpace would be easier and timely involvement of citizens and the economy in all phases of making plans. Through the public part of the portal, they could mark the zone they are particularly interested in and receive notification in almost real-time electronically when someone has initiated a change in the planning document or submitted a request for a building permit and, in accordance with legal procedures, respond in a timely manner.
This would prevent situations where investors have already secured building permits, and citizens learn that construction will only take place when excavators appear, when it is too late to influence the intended purpose or parameters. We currently have several examples (small hydropower plants, changes in the purpose of green areas in construction zones, etc.) where citizens prevent construction with protests, and investors who have secured permits from the state can seek and exercise the right to compensation, which will be paid from the budget - explains Cukic and emphasizes the importance of eSpace for the improvement of the culture of timely involvement of all stakeholders in the development of plans.
By connecting with the Republic Geodetic Authority, eProstor would enable the information needed for construction to be quickly withdrawn from the cadastre, as well as the data in the cadastre to be regularly updated. The fact that all institutions work simultaneously on one planning document would influence the stricter observance of deadlines and the entry of up-to-date and complete data in all of them. This would also significantly improve the quality of these documents.
At the moment, the territory of Serbia is well covered by planning documents, but in many cases they are incomplete and it is necessary to further elaborate them through more detailed plans, which often have to be financed by investors in order to build, without a certain time limit for project implementation. The lack of a single database of all plans with up-to-date and complete data makes it difficult even for professionals to determine precisely under what conditions it can be constructed in a certain zone, which would be solved by eSpace.
Serbia has significantly improved the regulations for the management of geospatial data and created a framework for creating the eSpace platform and electronic procedures for the development of planning documents. On the way to eSpace, it is necessary to improve the availability of data and their standardization and digitization.