‘Illegal’ clearing goes on

2011-09-21 00:00

DESPITE an appeal launched by residents of Mills Circle against the controversial decision by Msunduzi Municipality to allow construction of a new supermarket in Hayfields, the developer continues to clear the site.

This has driven residents to write a letter to the municipality to get the developer to stop clearing the site while the decision is pending.

On Monday The Witness visited 27 Blackburrow Road where it found a tractor-loader-backhoe (TLB) clearing vegetation with the help of other construction workers.

Nora Choveaux of Preservation of Mkondeni Mpushini Biodiversity (PMMB) Trust said: “When the TLB started residents in the area also heard hammering inside the house. We established from Ros Devereaux of AMAFA [the KZN heritage agency] that the developer does not have a permit to demolish any building and she therefore ordered the developer to cease all activity on the building immediately.”

She said that since then only vegetation clearing has taken place, which constitutes the start of development, and is therefore illegal.

Choveaux said one of the objectors, Jeremy Ridl, has warned the municipality in a letter that if it does not act, they have no option but to seek the opinion of the court.

“I am one of the objectors to the proposed Superspar in Mills Circle. We have lodged our appeal against the decision that the municipality made to approve the development,” she said.

Choveaux said that while the appeal is in place, the decision of the municipality falls away and the developer may not proceed with the development until the appeal is finalised in his favour.

“Despite this knowledge, the developer has cleared one of the properties that may form the site opposite the Hayfields Mall — 27 Blackburrow Road,” she said.

Choveaux said the lawyer representing 24 objectors mainly from Mills Circle (including the PMMB Trust) has written to the municipality demanding that it enforce compliance with the Planning and Development Act.

“I hand-delivered the letter [which was addressed to the head of the Planning Department, Atkins Khoali] yesterday to the administrator, Sibusiso Sithole, and the acting municipal manager.

“However, the site clearing continues,” said Choveaux.

Attempts to get a response from the Msunduzi Municipality were unsuccessful at the time of going to print. thobani@witness.co.za

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