New centre plan slated

2016-07-12 06:05

A shopping complex is being proposed for a portion of the “Old dump site” at the Ladies Mile or Spaanschemat River Road intersection in Constantia and the idea is being slammed by residents in that area.

The land, erven 13707 and 13708, was a farm owned by the Solomon Family for 65 years, until they were forcifully removed under the Group Areas Act.

According to the motivation report, the planning application says the land is to be re-zone from Utility to General Business – to allow a retail development – and to approve the site development plan (SDP). The shopping complex will create 150 jobs during construction and 350 when fully operational. The capital investment is about R250m.

A new traffic circle is proposed at the Ladies Mile/Spaanschemat River road intersection to help with traffic.

Residents are fuming about the proposal, with some worried about traffic and others saying they don’t want another shop. Others want the rural feel of the area to be maintained. They took to the Constantia Ratepayers’ and Residents Association (CRRA) Facebook page to air their views.

Adriana Stevens says this is a very bad idea. “What do we want another shopping centre for and right in the middle of a residentially zoned area? Traffic will also be too much for the area to absorb, and that’s not even taking into account during construction. Very bad idea.”

Joanna Furter says they don’t need another shopping mall. “We do not need another shopping mall when we already have two in close proximity of each other and using the land rather for the benefit of everyone – like a park for children or similar – would be a far better use of the land,” she says.

Annette Cowley-Nel says: “What we need to do is preserve the rural feel of Constantia. They should rather build beautiful stables and a stunning arena for horses. Even though I am not a rider we need to keep the space. That is why we all live Constantia,” she says.

In a statement contained in the motivation document, Rashad Solomon, founder and chairperson of the Solomon Family Trust says when they were moved from the area during apartheid, not only did the Group Areas Act dispossess their family of their land and usage right but the built fabric they developed on the property over decades was destroyed.

“After a lengthy struggle, the Solomon family has eventually regained our land and is in the process of getting the statutory authorities to reinstate the mixed land use rights we held on what was once Constantia’s prime commercial hub. In developing our property, the Solomon family endeavours to unlock the economic opportunities that we have been denied access to up until now,” he says.

Solomon adds: “As it is impossible to fully restore the historic character of the land, the family has carefully considered the type and nature of redevelopment which will be able to function as a financially viable standalone entity and to serve as a catalyst for the development of the remaining restitution sites. To realise these opportunities and to reflect our new ‘economic beginnings,’ the Solomon family, in conjunction with the our business partner Shoprite Checkers Pty Ltd , have initiated a collaborative design process in pursuit of developing a commercial retail centre with a modern ‘look and feel’ on our land which was gained through the land claims restitution process,” says Solomon.

Shoprite Checkers supermarket group referred People’s Post to documentation already in the public domain via the CRRA website.

In a statement they say a completion date is dependent on the rezoning process currently underway and approval of building plans. The owners of the land will lease it to the supermarket group for the development of an upmarket community shopping centre which will be anchored by a new generation Checkers supermarket.
It is believed that the proposed development will help alleviate traffic congestion and create a pleasant and alternative shopping experience.
CRRA is conducting an online opinion poll on the plans.


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