Khanya extension gets OK

2010-12-06 00:00

A PROPOSED subsidised housing development in Hilton was approved in principle by the Development Facilitation Act (DFA) tribunal hearing on Friday.

The development on portions of the farms Rietspruit and Driefontein is an extension of the existing Khanya Village Township next to the Cedara College of Agriculture and involves the construction of 632 houses on 50 hectares. The client for the development is the uMngeni Municipality and the implementing agent is Stedone (Pty) Ltd, a building and construction company.

The DFA hearing at the uMngeni Council Chamber was chaired by Ray Swart.

Steve Simpson, designated officer at the hearing and head of uMngeni Municipality’s development and planning department, said the occupants of the houses, most of whom work at the Cedara College, would come from six beneficiary communities.

Simpson said the development is in accordance with the municipality’s spatial development plan (SDF) and integrated development plan (IDP).

According to Shaun Hornby, representing Stedone, the development was a direct outflow of the municipality’s IDP and an initiative by the municipality to provide proper housing within its area of jurisdiction. He said that a large proportion of the occupants were living on the site already and the development would involve formalising their rights to ownership.

The total area of the development is 50,47 hectares and will include 632 houses, three hostel-type structures, an administrative site, two schools, a place of worship, six commercial sites, a cemetery and areas of public open space. The initial proposal had been for 799 houses on a larger area, but this has been reduced in compliance with concerns raised during the pre-DFA hearing period.

Hornby said the existing sewage works would be upgraded and uMgungundlovu District Municipalit will provide a water storage facility.

One matter outstanding is the lack of agreement between the municipality and the provincial Agriculture Department over an access road to the site.

Hornby suggested this could be resolved later even if approval for the development was given as there is already an existing access road to the site and access is therefore not a problem.

The national Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs, which previously objected to the development, has withdrawn its objections and issued a positive record of decision (ROD). However, the provincial Agriculture Department has yet to issue an ROD and Michael Relihan, representing the department, raised several objections, including that the siting of the access road and a boundary issue should be resolved. He also raised concerns over sewage dispersal and security fencing.

Councillor Ron Glaister, while welcoming the development in his ward, expressed concern about its impact on the agricultural college, which is a national institution, as the access route issue involves agricultural land used for teaching purposes. “The municipality and the agriculture department must sort out their differences and get on track.”

In giving his ruling, Swart said the DFA tribunal approved the development in principle subject to a provision of an ROD from the provincial agriculture department; that the access route issue be resolved on time and that certain amendments already agreed to be made to the conditions of establishment.

“Once we have been informed these have been complied with, we can deliberate on a final judgement,” Swart said, adding: “I urge the various parties to comply with this ruling as a matter of urgency as there is a desperate need for housing in this area.”

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