Row over new Spar site

2011-07-14 00:00

RESIDENTS of Hayfields have voiced their unhappiness at the Msunduzi Municipality for allegedly bulldozing through the approval to start construction of the new Hayfields SuperSpar over their objections.

Some residents who live in Mills Circle, where the development will take place, told The Witness that they are fed up with waiting for the decision because they cannot plan their lives without knowing the council’s decision on the matter.

Said Nora Choveaux of the Preservation of Umpushini and Umkhondeni Biodiversity Trust , “Despite more than 70 written objections and a petition with over 650 signatures opposing it, and with no evidence of any deliberation by any committee, the Hayfields SuperSpar was approved and signed off by the administrator, Sibusiso Sithole … on June 30, 2011.”

She said she was speaking on behalf of Hayfields residents.

Choveaux said residents feel disempowered by the municipality after it approved the development despite their objections.

She said one of the residents wrote a letter to the KZN Spar managing director, Rob Philipson, complaining about the development.

Philipson responded by saying that the matter is out of his hands because it was up to the municipality to make a decision, Choveaux added.

“We are not against the development … our concerns are about the unsuitable position that was chosen to construct the Hayfields SuperSpar,” she said.

Choveaux said one of the residents’ main concerns is that the development will intensify the traffic congestion.

“Residents still need to be formally informed of the decision that was taken on June 30.

The residents now have an opportunity to appeal this decision,” she added.

Choveaux gave The Witness a copy of a letter from the Msunduzi Municipality, dated July 4, which approves the initiative to develop the SuperSpar.

She said they are currently seeking legal advice on the matter.

However, a resident who declined to give his name said he is happy with the proposed development because it means his mother will be able to move away from the noisy freeway.

Philipson said, “We were approached by the developer as a prospective tenant within the Hayfields scheme several months ago and we agreed to become a tenant within the scheme, provided the necessary zoning and approvals were granted by the relevant authorities.”

He said the development will go ahead subject to approval being granted, irrespective of whether Spar is the tenant.

“We are therefore not in a position to adjudicate on this matter, or influence its construction as it now lies with the town planning office in Pietermaritzburg.”

Philipson said the developer has submitted the findings of all the necessary studies, such as traffic engineering and environmental and economic impact assessments, as part of the proposal.

About 300 people will be employed if the development goes ahead.

Philipson said there will always be people who complain when there is proposed development and that was the case when the Liberty Midlands Mall was proposed.

Several attempts to get comments from the Msunduzi administrator, Sibusiso Sithole, were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

hayfields:Residents say objections to development ignored

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