Drive to clean up suburb

2013-12-04 00:00

CONCERNED residents and business owners have petitioned the city to prevent parts of Windermere from deteriorating.

The Concerned Stamfordhill Landlords/Owners said they are “extremely concerned” about the increase in crime, brothels, unkempt buildings that had been turned into hostels and related activities at the Woodford Grove/Stamford Hill area.

The residents said they were concerned at the number of adult stores in the area, but store owners told The Witness that they ran legitimate businesses and were fully licensed.

Dave Oldacre, who owns a Maxprop franchise, is one of the business owners behind the drive to clean up the Windermere area.

He said the security of everyone in the area had been compromised by slumlords.

He said they were making a quick buck at the expense of people desperate for accommodation.

“This concerns me because it has a serious impact on business. There’s a continuous increase in municipal rates and services without similar increase in service delivery to consumers and business at large,” said Oldacre.

He said he had raised the issue with the municipality in May but was yet to see action.

A statement attached to the petition lists four businesses that they claim are contributing to the increase in crime and related activities.

• “We question whether the utilisation of the said property complies with town planning regulations and with health and safety regulations. The building is in a total state of disrepair and we understand was condemned a few years ago.

“Further the rubbish and refuse that is being discarded from the occupants are not only unsightly but also a health hazard.

• “Again we question whether the said property complies with town planning regulations and with health and safety regulations. The property appears to be used as a multiple residential hostel.

• “The top floor of this property appears to have been converted to residential ‘hostel’ accommodation.

• “This site is owned by eThekwini and per our understanding has been leased out for ‘beautification’. It has been operated as a motor workshop/yard for a number of years.”

Another businessman, Kevin Peterson, owner of electronics company Holomatrix, said conditions in the area were posing a health risk.

“I constantly see used condoms all over the place. Sometimes when we work late at night, a lot of girls roam around this road. They sometimes approach stationary cars and try to force themselves inside.

“We’ve been in this area for about a year now and already we feel that business and client safety is compromised by this,” said Peterson.

He said they have had two burglaries at his business and lack of business monitoring from the enforcement of town planning regulation perspective played a role.

“I look at this through different lenses, through the business perspective and on the moral point of view this is totally wrong. Sadly, these young girls are exploited by people who take away most of what they make,” he said, adding that he was planning to draft a complaint to the authorities about the state of affairs in the area.

When The Witness went to the door of an alleged escort agency, a bulky man said he did not have the owner’s contact number.

eThekwini principal building inspector Glen Smith referred The Witness to Eric Parker, regional co-ordinator for land use management, whose phone was on voicemail. SMSes and an e-mail were sent to him, but he had not responded by the time of going to press.

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