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Mon 4 Aug 2008 05:36 AM

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Development blueprint for UAE regions

Guidelines to be published for Al Ain and Al Gharbia to shape future plans.

New plans have been drawn up for the development of Al Ain and the Al Gharbia regions of the UAE.

The blueprint will reflect the rapid rate of expansion in the rest of the country, and will guide construction and policy in the areas formerly known as the Western Region for years to come.

The Urban Planning Council (UPC), who were behind Abu Dhabi’s reinvention, said the plans should be published by the end of the year, with the Al Ain draft due in September or October, reported UAE daily The National on Monday.

The prospect of large-scale development in Al Ain coincides with the city’s bid to be named a World Heritage Site by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

Officials at the UPC declined to reveal details of the plans before publication.

Proposals are expected to concentrate on how infrastructure should be improved to cope with population growth while preserving the character of the region.

Planners will also seek to protect the traditional image of Al Ain as a green haven for the rest of the emirate.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, issued a decree in 2005 ordering all the city’s oases be preserved and protected, especially from the threat of overdevelopment.

Al Gharbia region is also undergoing a transformation and the Western Region Development Council has outlined its aim of bringing in jobs and tourism.

The region includes 83 per cent of the emirate’s territory but only eight per cent of the population.

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