Locals object to wellness centre

2015-05-06 09:30
A subcouncil application for a hospital in the form of a wellness centre on the corner of Suffolk Road and 1st Avenue has received 50 objections from residents. The application was discussed at a recent subcouncil meeting. 

PHOTO: 
astrid februar

A subcouncil application for a hospital in the form of a wellness centre on the corner of Suffolk Road and 1st Avenue has received 50 objections from residents. The application was discussed at a recent subcouncil meeting. PHOTO: astrid februar

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The application for a hospital in the form of a wellness centre, along with medical consulting rooms, in Harfield Village received 50 objections.

It relates to a property on the corner of Suffolk Road and 1st Avenue.

The application, which was brought before Protea subcouncil 20, includes departures which relate to building lines, floor facto, coverage and parking in accordance with the site development plan.

Councillors present at the subcouncil meeting agreed to conduct a site visit before granting or refusing the application at the next subcouncil meeting.

ObjectionsThe objections are highlighted in a subcouncil report.

Residents’ concerns relate to, among others, the lack of parking spaces on the street in the area and the belief that the neighbourhood is not designed for a large number of parked cars due to narrow roads. There is also the worry that 1st Avenue is used as a shortcut during peak traffic hours.

“As the existing building has a veranda across the front which is not in use and never has been, this could be removed to provide space for angle parking for about five to six cars, resulting in some relief for the congestion in the roads,” the application states.

Another objection is that the area is predominantly residential and the development of a business would detract from the residential and community nature of the village.

In response to the objections the applicant, ILali Investment, says that the objectors wrongly believe the application is to redevelop the property, extend the floor area of the existing building or to significantly change the current land use. “The fact is that no additions or alterations are proposed,” the applicant says.

The applicant further states that the existing floor area will be used and the application is to legalise the existing business.

“The medical consulting rooms are merely a compatible backup or alternative rental option for the land owner should suitable floor space become available in the existing building in future.”

Parking woesHowever, residents are concerned that the expansion of the business would create a greater parking problem for the area. “A change in the type of business and the dramatic increase in the number of clients will severely worsen parking,” an objection states.

The applicant’s response in the subcouncil report states that the business currently operates as a wellness centre with a full range of body, beauty and skincare treatments, including hair and nail services.

“The intention is, however, to extend the range of health services offered on the property and thus this application is also to permit medical consulting rooms.”

The objectors argue that here is “no significant local demand for this kind of rental space in the neighbourhood. There are suitably placed commercial properties elsewhere that can accommodate tenants who which to rent medical suites”.

In response, the applicant states that there are currently 11 people working on the property including therapists, instructors, a technician, a receptionist and cleaning staff. There are many similar examples throughout the city where larger commercial uses operate successfully with no on-site parking”

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