Stalled hotel and housing development angers residents

2015-01-12 00:00

THE stalled development of a multi-million-rand hotel and suburban housing complex in Hayfields has raised the ire of residents who insist the vacant site is an eyesore and a hotbed for crime.

Flanking the N3 at the corner of New England Road and Hesketh Drive, the development is funded by Dezzo Construction and is valued at R17 million.

The project is a budget hotel and a residential complex, which should have been completed and running over a year ago.

Residents said the project has been mired in controversy since inception.

They claim that residents had not been notified about the construction project until a notice was published in a newspaper that prompted a flood of objections.

The Witness visited the site last week and found very little work had been done.

Only a short driveway at the entrance has been built and manholes were partially completed.

The main entrance has a makeshift gate made out of wire, rubber and planks.

A source at the site, who asked not to be named, said the project was a stop-start affair and work ceased around July last year.

“This was supposed to have been completed already. Construction work would start and halfway through they would run out of material and the development would stop.

“The workers would be sent home, and the material would be bought and the construction would begin again,” said the source.

Hayfields resident Pieter Swanepoel said the development has been going on for at least five years.

“We want to know what is happening there because no one is telling us anything about this development.

“For months there has not been anything happening at the site. This was supposed to have been completed years ago and they have not built one thing,” he said.

He said the developers had also planned to build a restaurant there but the idea was turned down.

Swanepoel said the site was an eyesore and a danger, and was devaluing their properties.

“Over the past months, there have been a spate of breaks-ins around this area and all the residents are pointing to this development because criminals go through the bush in there and disappear.

“This is also a danger because people use this area as a short cut. Someone might fall into a manhole and be seriously injured or killed. The fence they put in there is not complete.

“This used to be a park where children went to play,” he said.

Senzo Mfayela, CEO of Dezzo Holdings, said people “need to understand that development in this country takes time”.

“There were a number of processes that needed to be followed and that has been holding back the project … Things will start happening this year.”

He said the company had invested money in the project and would like to see a return on that investment.

Project manager Les Botha said allegations that the project was dragging on was misinformation.

“A Road Lodge and town houses are being built on the site, and the programme is pretty much on track.”

Hayfields ward councillor Sandra Lyne said she was researching what was going on in the site. She said it was not the first time construction had stopped there.

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