NEW businesses have been banned from operating in the heart of a popular shopping district in Adliya.
The Manama Municipal Council has scrapped plans to officially reclassify the area behind Al Jazeera Supermarket into a commercial zone
It says there are already enough shops and restaurants in the area and changing the residential classification would mean massive traffic congestion as there is a lack of parking space.
However, the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry has been pushing for the reclassification on grounds that the district was known as a commercial area for the last 30 years.
"We accept the fact that people know the place as a shopping district rather than its original status as a residential area, but I don't think that anyone living there is ready for further nuisance as more outlets will open if we agree to the commercial classification," said council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor.
"If the new classification was applied, homeowners will rent out their property for business and that means trouble amongst residents because there would definitely be opposing views, with others wanting the place to remain residential.
"The shops, mostly restaurants, are more than enough, especially since the place can't accommodate any additional businesses.
"The area is already experiencing huge traffic jams and lack of parking space and opening more shops will create a hectic scene that would rob the popular commercial district of its beauty."
The classification system was introduced in Bahrain around 20 years ago, which is why existing commercial outlets were not removed or categorised as illegal, explained Mr Mansoor.
"People who had businesses there continued normally under no classification until new homes began clustering around them and due to homes being the majority it was classified residential," he added.
"The shopping area later on got covered by the emergence of a new commercial district on Osama bin Zaid Avenue, popularly known as the Love Road, which became Adliya's most famous shopping destination, but the original kept its appeal amongst the public because it has several popular outlets."
"Now, the ministry wants to make the original shopping district official, but we are against it, considering that the majority now know it as a quiet residential area with famous outlets rather than a major shopping zone that hampers their peace of mind."