Digs in Isabel Beardmore Drive

2015-12-09 06:00

FOLLOWING last week’s article in Maritzburg Fever, “Student digs problems need to be addressed”, Eric Thorpe who lives in Isabel Beardmore Drive in Scottsville reported to Maritzburg Fever that there is construction taking place on a few houses in the road which appear to be developing as student digs.

Thorpe said he has been watching the developments with growing concern as there has been no communication to residents that there are plans to have student accommodation developed.

“When work started we observed with curiosity what we thought were minor improvements. It soon became apparent this was not the case as the scale of work escalated,” said Thorpe.

Residents expressed concern about the possibility of the area becoming a hive of student digs without the necessary communication of such to residents and the possibility of rezoning. Thorpe said there are about four houses and a granny flat he believes are being converted into digs for students and staff of the Seth Mokithimi­ Seminary in Golf Road.

“We have had no notification or even feedback from our queries from the municipality and town planning. Many of us [residents] have contacted the municipality to make them aware of the situation as we believe this is an illegal activity.

“I did speak to one of the construction workers who confirmed that the construction was taking place to convert the houses into digs. I also spoke to an inspector on-site who said the municipality knew about the issue however, the work is continuing,” said Thorpe. He said that the matter was reported to the ward councillor in October and was informed last month that a contravention notice was to be issued due to illegal construction.

An email sent by another resident stated that the residents of Isabel Beardmore Drive have experienced property being vacated by the couple who lived there and then occupied by a group of people, presumably students or staff of varying ages.

“If this scenario multiplies significantly, which appears likely with the alterations that are progressing, the area will become saturated with large numbers of people ... changes being inflicted on the area should have been inclusive of residents at the outset,” stated the email.

Nqobile Madonda, acting marketing and communications manager at Msunduzi Municipality, confirmed that contravention notices had been served to the owner of the properties in question. “As previously advised to the complainant, owners get 14 days to resolve matters as per the council legal processes which expired on Sunday, 6 December. We are now pursuing a summons,” she said.

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