New rezoning front line drawn in the battle to save the Berea

2014-01-23 00:00

THE characterful cul-de-sac Poynton Place off Musgrave Road looks set to become the next front line in the battle to save the Berea.

Developer SiVest have applied for rezoning from special residential to general residential for number 10 Poynton Place, currently the home of the Spanish Honorary Consulate. It is understood the consulate has been asked to vacate the premises by the end of the month.

The properties in the cul-de-sac are older Durban houses. However, on the opposite side of Poynton Place is the seven-storey (plus penthouse) apartment block known as “7 on Poynton” that was built in 2008. Though there were objections to this development at the time the building was permitted as that side of Poynton Place is zoned general residential.

According to the application lodged with the municipality, SiVest is intending to demolish the existing two-storey house on the property and building a six-storey structure plus a basement area for undercover parking — effectively seven storeys — consisting of 13 residential apartments. This would not be permissible under the current zoning.

“If SiVest succeeds, it will set a precedent that will rapidly ripple across the Berea, and the council will not easily refuse further rezoning applications,” says Poynton Place resident Wayne Webb in a posting on a Facebook page created with his wife Terry Shapiro specifically to oppose the rezoning application (www.facebook.com/groups/bigyellowtaxi/).

“A free-for-all will result and the whole of the Berea … will end up a flatland, with the noise, grime, crime, traffic jams, loss of views and sunlight that will destroy the ambience of the area and affect all property values.”

Save Our Berea campaign’s Cheryl Johnson agrees. “That’s the danger,” she says. “And that’s why we want to support them on this.”

A copy of the rezoning application and the accompanying documents are available for inspection at the Land Use Management Branch, City Engineer’s Building, 166 K.E. Masinga (formerly Old Fort) Road.

Objections and comments regarding the application have to be lodged by February 10, either by hand, to the Head: Development Planning, Environment and Management Unit, PO Box 680, Durban 4000; fax 031 311 7859 or e-mail to Reshan.Annoop@durban.gov.za.

“Making objections can be quite complicated,” says Johnson. “People have to look through all the by-laws involved and they throw up their hands. But Wayne is putting up guidelines on their Facebook page and all the information you need is there.

“Save Our Berea Campaign urges everyone to support them.”

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