Building to start soon

2016-11-15 10:18
A security estate evelopment is expected to start next year on the Foentjies plot in Rochester Road.

A security estate evelopment is expected to start next year on the Foentjies plot in Rochester Road. (TIYESE JERANJI)

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There is light at the end of the tunnel for the plot in Rochester Road in Heathfield as development is planned to start some time next year.

The plot, well-known as the Foentjies, at 46 Rochester Road has been a cause of concern for many residents for more than four years.

Over the years the plot become an eyesore for many.

“There is so much crime in our area because of this plot,” says resident Charles Adams. “We are still experiencing drug trafficking from the area and people are using that property when they burgle houses in our neighbourhood. We requested that a fence be put up as soon as possible for the safety of the senior citizens. If something is going to be done it’s a good thing, because the crime is way too much,” he says.

The property belonged to the late Karel Foentjies. The developer who bought the plot in 2012 has been struggling to get the plot on his name. It was only transferred in September and work is expected to start sometime next year.

The buyer had the property rezoned for a security estate. The municipality gave approval for this in 2014.

The planned security estate development will comprise 136 units made up of 33 three-bed semi-detached units, 31 two-bed duplex units and 72 two-bed flats. It will be marketed to mid-income homeowners.

However, Support Concerned Heathfield Residents against Proposed Development (SCHRAPD) were opposed to the development, saying they were concerned about the property value, traffic congestion and impact on the environment amongst other things.

“It didn’t work for us at that time. It was also stalled by some people who didn’t want to move. Over the years it just went to the dogs,” says Glorya van Niekerk who was part of the SCHRAPD steering committee.

“What we are saying is, though we support development on that plot, it should be done in the context of houses in the area. Not high-density housing.

“Often developers play nice with us but when signing at the municipality level something else that we didn’t agree to passes. We are really happy that something is being done but it should fit in with what is in the area already,” she says.

Kevin Southgate, ward councillor for the area, says he is not aware of any reported crimes, except for allegations of drug abuse perpetrated by the homeless people living next to the property.

“They have been posing a threat to the safety and wellbeing of the neighbours. The City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement has visited the site on more than one occasion to remove the vagrants, only for them to move back the following day. A major concern is the amount of rubbish that is being dumped by the vagrants on an ongoing basis and which does represent a health risk. I’m hoping that the commencement of the development will address this challenge.”

Jan Burger, chairperson of the Princess Vlei Civic Association, says they are happy that there will be development soon.

“When we have additional people in the area it will mean an additional voice to the association. We can raise our concerns and we will be heard.
“People were concerned about crime there because nothing was happening and it was attracting the wrong crowds. There were houses there and most of them were stripped off of everything that could be sold. There was no fence and the developers were battling with the registration. However, that is sorted and we hope it will be built soon. It’s a good thing for the area and it will increase the value of our properties.”

Howard Fisher, director of DNL properties, says the plan approval for civil infrastructure and the units will take time to process. Once this is approved they will know what the start date for the development will be.

“The developer is only now able to focus on plan submission and marketing to launch this development. Hopefully 2017 will bring a great new security estate to Heathfield.

“Beneficial occupation of the property will only pass to the developer once the tenants have vacated the units they are currently occupying. Once the tenants vacate the units, the developer will be in a position to demolish the illegal dwellings, and will proceed with installing civil infrastructure and the boundary fencing.”

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