Scottsville and Pelham - ‘swamped with students’

2015-07-29 06:00

VARIOUS role players and stakeholders from Wards 33 and 36 met on Monday to discuss the growing problem of student digs and boarding houses invading residential areas in Scottsville and Pelham.

Nalini Atwaru and Vic Winterbach, councillors from both wards, were present at the meeting as well as representatives from the ratepayers’ association.

During the presentation the representative from the Msunduzi town planning department, Atkins Khoali, said that there are about 40 matters logged with the municipality on a weekly basis­. Based on that about 100 contravention notices have been issued, 162 fines and 120 have been stopped.

Khoali said that most of the areas in the Scottsville and Pelham areas are general residential areas and therefore do not need special permits to operate boarding houses and student digs.

Only areas that are zoned as special residential need permits before operations begin.

The complaints received by the municipality come from the residents, and the problem continues to persist, with the number of students occupying illegal boarding houses and digs increasing every year.

Khoali said that there has been a lot of pressure from both Ward 33 and Ward 36 residents asking for the municipality to assist with the problem.

Thus far houses in Steel, Shores, Hutchinson, Phipson, Pepworth, Riverton, Ridge and New England roads, among others, have been attended to by the municipality and have either been served contravention notices, have been granted official permits from the municipality or are in court fighting their case.

Members at the meeting agreed that there needs to be serious attention paid to the problem.

While they conceded they cannot get away from the influx of students because of the tertiary institutions in the area, they proposed that a student village be formed in the area to cater for their needs and to promote the proper learning environment for studying.

Khoali said that as of 1 July there is a new body that will decide on town planning and that a revised town planning document, specific for the Scottsville and Pelham areas, will be drawn up to address the concerns of residents, and come to an amicable solution

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